Ma'aden ammonia line shutdown extended by several days - SABIC

16 April 2013 14:04  [Source: ICIS news]

Ammonia is used as a fertilizer for farmingLONDON (ICIS)--The unplanned shutdown of a major ammonia production plant run by Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) has been extended by at least six days, co-owner SABIC confirmed on Tuesday.

Work on the Ras Al-Khair unit commenced on 1 April and was due to last 14 days, but the restart date has now been pencilled in for 21 April, SABIC told ICIS.

Run by Ma'aden Phosphate Company – 70%-owned by Ma’aden and 30%-owned by SABIC – the ammonia plant outage was initially expected to result in a loss of production of 80,000-90,000 tonnes.

While SABIC did not update this figure today, the fertilizer giant did confirm that a diammonium phosphate (DAP) plant operated by Ma'aden will not be impacted by the extended outage as the producer has sufficient stocks of the key feedstock.

In addition, the producer says its long-term ammonia contract customers will not be impacted by the extended outage, with the supplier due to load a 23,000-tonne ammonia cargo in Jubail for Asia Pacific on 26 April as well as a 15,000-tonne ammonia cargo on 29 April for a customer in west coast India.

A futher two ammonia shipments, each of 23,000 tonnes, are also scheduled to load in the first two weeks of May.

Meanwhile, SABIC also confirmed that Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company's (SAFCO) ammonia line No.4 restarted as planned on Monday (15 April) after a two-week turnaround.

The company added the seven-week shutdown of SAFCO's ammonia line No.2 commenced as planned today, with the turnarounds expected to result in a combined loss of 60,000-70,000 tonnes of ammonia output.

In line with the recent global downward price trend for the important nitrogen fertilizer, spot ammonia prices in the Arabian Gulf have fallen to $535-550/tonne (€412-423.5/tonne) FOB (free on board) from $705/tonne FOB in late 2012 and early 2013.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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