First Sorfert Algeria ammonia cargo sold to the Netherlands, Morocco

21 October 2013 16:50  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Buyers in the Netherlands and Morocco will share the first 15,000 tonnes of ammonia produced at the new $2bn (€1.46bn) Sorfert nitrogen fertilizer plant in western Algeria, market sources revealed on Monday.

The inaugural cargo, which loaded on the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker Navigator Galaxy in Arzew on 15 October, arrived in Rotterdam over the weekend where around half of the volume was offloaded for OCI Nitrogen NV – Sorfert's majority owner.

The remainder of the cargo is scheduled to be discharged in Jorf Lasfar around 25 October for leading phosphate producer OCP (Office Cherifien des Phosphates) after OCI concluded a spot sale with the Moroccan firm, although the Dutch company today declined to comment on the price or volume. OCP could not be reached for comment.

"The ammonia is of perfect quality and we have discharged some of the cargo into our own system in Rotterdam," an OCI executive confirmed, adding the loading in Arzew "went exactly according to plan".

He declined to reveal the price OCI paid Sorfert for their share of the volume or why the time-chartered vessel took the cargo to Europe first rather than Morocco, although there are suggestions it could be for logistical reasons if a second cargo is available for loading in very late October or early November.

While OCI is the majority owner of the massive export-oriented joint venture with a 51% stake, all marketing and sales activities are handled by Sorfert, meaning the Geleen-based company has to compete against other potential buyers.

Sorfert, which other owner is state-run energy giant Sonatrach, has already loaded several 20,000-tonne urea cargoes via tenders in recent weeks  in which OCI was awarded twice and also concluded one spot sale.

Once fully operational, Sorfert will produce 800,000 tonnes/year of merchant ammonia and 1.3m tonnes/year of granular urea for export. Ammonia is pumped along a pipeline to Arzew, but the urea is transported in a fleet of lorries to warehouses at the dockside.

($1 = €0.73)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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