Israel's government gives green light to new ammonia plant

07 October 2013 16:36  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Israel's government has given the green light for the construction of a new ammonia plant in the south of the country and is likely to issue a construction tender by the end of 2013, the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced late on Sunday.

Officials say the new plant in the gas-rich Negev region will be of "national importance" and better serve the local market and make the country less reliant on ammonia imports.

No details as to the cost or capacity of the project at Mishor Rotem, where most ammonia users are based, have yet been disclosed, but construction is expected to be completed by late 2017/early 2018.

The project will also see the 12,000-tonne capacity ammonia storage tank in Haifa removed amid long-held fears it poses a safety risk to tens of thousands of local residents and is a potential target for terrorists.

Environmental Protection Minister, Amir Peretz, said the new plant would mean a significant reduction in the amount of ammonia – which is highly explosive – transported by road and reduce the risk posed by the large storage tank at Haifa. "Since I began serving as minister, I've considered the relocation of the ammonia tank in Haifa Bay an issue of urgency and of central importance," he stated.

"We will give high priority to the relocation and will do whatever possible to ensure it is built as quickly as possible. This is one of the most complex decisions to actually be implemented, but from my experience as defence minister, and because of the urgency of the issue, I see in this process an action that will significantly reduce the risk of fatalities and the risk of massive damage, should the tank be compromised. We will continue to rigorously supervise [the tank and the new plant] in order to protect the population."

Israel currently imports an around 10,000 tonnes a month of Black Sea ammonia, which is mainly used by Israel Chemicals Limited (ICL) for a variety of agricultural and industrial applications.

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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