Protests shut Mopco's Egypt urea plant, delays Damietta shipments

14 November 2011 12:11  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Mopco’s 660,000 tonne/year granular urea plant at Damietta, Egypt, remains shut down as military and company officials try to quell protests over a planned expansion at the facility and restore activity at Damietta port, sources said on Monday. 

Protests began last week over Mopco’s planned expansions for 2012, which includes the construction of two new plants, each to produce 660,000 tonnes/year of granular urea. Protesters have voiced concerns over emissions and possible harm to local fisheries.

Sources close to the situation said the protesters had turned violent and the military had to intervene over the weekend. One man was killed and the Mopco plant had to be shut down on Sunday.

Military and plant officials were said to be holding meetings early on Monday.

“We’re trying to explain these plants don’t have emissions the way they think. When things operate as usual it is very safe,” said an Egyptian producer.

Helwan, another producer with a capacity of 660,000 tonnes/year of granular urea, has delayed a tender for 25,000 tonnes that it planned to float on Monday and will issue the sales tender once a clearer picture emerges over the severity of the situation.

Mopco’s November shipment schedule has already suffered, with traders notified that their shipments will be delayed.

“I’m not sure it’s a big problem, but it is a problem and the question is: how long will this last?” said a European-based trader. “If it’s just a week or 10 days, well then okay, but this could last for months. The situation there [in Egypt] has been very touch and go.”

Currently, only Damietta is affected, which is one of Egypt’s largest and northern-most ports, and is the largest port which exports urea. So far there are no indications that urea exports would be redistributed to other ports.

For more on urea visit ICIS pricing fertilizers

By: Lauren Williamson
+44 (0) 20 8652 3214

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