State officials say Alaska Nitrogen Products in Nikiski exported $36.2 million in fertilizers during the first quarter, up from exports of $24.4 million during the first quarter last year.
However, ANP's first-quarter exports did not reach the 1998 first-quarter total of $38 million, said Patricia Eckert, a trade specialist with the Alaska Division of Trade and Development.
Agrium Inc., a Canadian firm, has agreed to buy ANP and other assets from Unocal and hopes to close the deal this month. Unocal spokesperson Archie Cook said he did not know where the state's figures came from and could not confirm them. However, he said, the increase in the value of ANP exports of ammonia and urea stems from rising commodity prices.
"Our volume, for the last few years, has remained almost constant," he said.
Eckert said South Korea bought the majority of the fertilizer exported from Nikiski. Korean purchases were $24 million in the first quarter of 2000, $12 million in the first quarter of 1999 and $20 million in the first quarter of 1998. Thailand, second only to South Korea, bought $6 million in Nikiski fertilizers in the first quarter of 2000, $3.5 million in the first quarter of 1999 and $2.5 million in the first quarter of 1998. Eckert could not immediately provide annual totals.
While Cook could not confirm her figures, he said ANP's chief overseas buyers, in order by volume, are South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam. ANP ships smaller amounts of ammonia and urea to Mexico, Australia and the Philippines. Cook said 95 percent of ANP's sales are to overseas buyers, though it occasionally sends shipments to the U.S. West Coast.
Meanwhile, oil also contributed strongly to an overall increase in first-quarter Alaska exports. Those totaled $644.5 million, up 24 percent from the first quarter last year.
"Asia is continuing its economic recovery," said Greg Wolf, director of the Division of Trade and Development. "Asia will continue to be our primary target. These nations are geographically near Alaska, linked by good transportation, and their growing economies require the natural resources that Alaska produces."
Eckert said crude oil exports totaled $252 million during the first quarter of 2000, up from $107 million in the first quarter of 1999. There was a modest increase in export volume, she said, but the substantial increase was in price, which rose from about $11 per barrel in the first quarter last year to about $27 per barrel during the first quarter this year.
Seafood exports totaled less than $251.2 million, down from $286.8 million during the first quarter last year. The state blamed the decline on the late opilio crab season on the Bering Sea. Alaska exported $66 million worth of opilio crab during the first quarter last year, but just $250,000 worth during the first quarter this year.
Wood exports totaled $30.6 million during the first quarter of 2000, down 24 percent from the first quarter last year. Mineral exports totaled $28 million, up 13 percent from the first quarter last year.
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