MPC restarts Saudi ammonia plant and DAP unit after maintenance

20 May 2013 03:20  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Ma'aden Phosphate Co (MPC) has restarted ammonia and diammonium phosphate (DAP) production at the firm's complex in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia, following the completion of a 21-day turnaround that is expected to impact its second-quarter financial performance by around Saudi riyal (SR) 119m ($31.7m), €24.7m).

The earlier-than-planned maintenance, which was brought forward after two unplanned outages in April caused by unspecified "technical difficulties", had not affected its ammonia or DAP shipments to contract customer, the company said in a filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange on 19 May.

"MPC used the shutdown period as an opportunity to carry out maintenance which was previously scheduled for five weeks during May," the company said.

"At the same time, the DAP plant was restarted as a consequence of the return of production in the ammonia plant. The company will no longer require five weeks maintenance of the ammonia plant scheduled previously in May," it added.

The statement continued: "The company's financial impact of the shutdown is initially estimated at SR119m, which will be reflected in the second quarter financial results. It should also be noted that the shutdown of DAP did not affect the company's ability to meet its obligations to its customers during the period of suspension due to the availability of stock."

MPC, which is a 70:30 joint venture between Ma'aden and Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC, was initially forced to halt operations at the upstream ammonia plant from 1 April to 20 April, although the DAP plant continued to operate as MPC had enough ammonia inventory.

However, after the technical issues returned on 28 April as the firm began to ramp up output rates, MPC was forced to suspend DAP production due to a lack of the key feedstock.

The Ras Al Khair site can produce about 3m tonnes/year of granular DAP with an ammonia surplus of 400,000 tonnes/year, according to the company's website.

($1 = SR3.75, $1 = €0.78)



By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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