OCI's Sorfert Algeria awaits approval for ammonia, urea exports

02 October 2012 20:43  [Source: ICIS news]

DUBLIN, Ireland (ICIS)--Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) faces one final legislative hurdle before it can start exporting ammonia and urea from its new $2bn (€1.6bn) plant at its subsidiary in Algeria, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

Tests on Sorfert Algeria’s first ammonia plant and inaugural urea plant are completed, and the second ammonia plant will start operations before the end of 2012, said Marc van Doorn, OCI’s marketing and sales director for fertilizers.

However, none of the ammonia or urea can be sold or shipped until an environmental permit has been obtained from the government, a process that is taking longer than expected because of Sorfert being the country’s first export-oriented fertilizer producer, which requires the creation of new legislation, van Doorn explained.

“It’s a bit of an adventure as it’s the first fertilizer plant to have a large export capacity,” he added. “It’s not very easy but at least we are progressing and moving forward. The good news is that technically, they [the plants] do exactly what they are supposed to do. We already have some product in storage.”

Addressing delegates at the IFA Production and International Trade Conference, van Doorn said ammonia and urea produced at the plant will be sold through a new trading arm being set up by the group.

The company may also set up a transport group to handle shipments, but OCI is “not actively pushing this ammonia [onto the market] at the moment”.

Once fully operational in early 2013, Sorfert Algeria will produce around 800,000 tonnes/year of merchant ammonia and 1.2m tonnes/year of urea for export.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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