Inaugural ammonia cargo from Sorfert Algeria poised to load

03 October 2013 13:48  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--After months of delays due to red tape, the first ammonia cargo produced at the new $2bn (€1.48bn) export-oriented Sorfert plant in Algeria is set to load in the next few days, market sources revealed on Thursday.

LPG tanker Navigator Galaxy, which is time-chartered to OCI Nitrogen NV – Sorfert's majority owner – is scheduled to arrive in Arzew in the next 24 hours, the Netherlands-based company confirmed today.

The 15,000-tonne capacity vessel, which had been floating in the western Mediterranean for around 10 days, is likely to discharge the 12,000-tonne cargo in Jorf Lasfar next week for Moroccan phosphate producer OCP (Office Cherifien des Phosphates), although OCI would not confirm or deny that it had concluded a spot sale.

An OCI executive would only say the vessel will be used to test the systems and equipment at the long-awaited plant, which exported its first 20,000-tonne granular urea cargo last month. OCP could not be reached for comment.

Once fully operational, Sorfert will produce 800,000 tonnes/year of merchant ammonia and 1.3m tonnes/year of granular urea for export. Ammonia will be pumped via a pipeline to Arzew port, and the urea will be moved by road to warehouses at the dockside.

OCI Nitrogen NV holds a 51% stake in the joint venture, and Algeria's state-owned oil and gas producer Sonatrach a 49% share.

Because of the lower freight costs from Algeria compared to the key Ukrainian port of Yuzhny, potential destinations for the plant's ammonia output include the US, Latin America, Morocco, Tunisia, northwest Europe, and Asia Pacific countries such as India, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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