Venezuela's $1bn FertiNitro plant to go online in Jan

Author: Christina Hoag

2000/12/01

CARACAS (CNI)--FertiNitro's $1.1bn (Euro1.25bn) ammonium and urea plant is to be completed this month and after production tests will go on line in the first days of 2001, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) announced Friday.

The FertiNitro (Fertilizantes Nitrogenados de Oriente) facility will be the world's largest nitrogenated fertiliser plant, according to PDVSA, parent company of one of the project's partners, Pequiven.

The project's construction, which started in May 1998, was 99% completed in November, and purchasing of equipment and supplies also is completed, the statement said. Export of the first product from the plant is scheduled to take place in January from the new petrochemical dock in the chemical complex in Jose where the FertiNitro facility is located.

FertiNitro is a partnership between Pequiven (35%), Koch Industries of the US (35%), Italy's Snamprogetti (20%), and Venezuela's Empresas Polar (10%). It is designed to produce 1.3m tonne/year of ammonium and 1.5m tonne/year of urea.

The plant will use Haldor Topsoe technology for the ammonium production, Snamprogetti technology for urea, and HydroAgri for the urea granulation, PDVSA said.

The project was financed 30% directly by the partners and 70% by external credit. Of the $810m in financing, $250m was in bonds and the rest through a loan from a pool of banks led by US Citibank and NationsBank, and Medio Credito Centrale of Italy.

The plant's production is aimed mainly at American markets, with ammonium targeted for North America and urea for South America. Pequiven already has started marketing the fertilisers through a special company, Posamerica, created for that purpose, PDVSA said.

The plant will employ 215 workers who have been specially trained in Venezuela as well as at similar plants in Pakistan and Bahrain.

The same partners are planning to build a similarly dimensioned unit, dubbed FertiNitro II, to go online in 2005.