Qatari fertilizer producer Qafco poised for major plant turnaround

26 March 2014 14:25 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--One of Qatar's largest ammonia and urea plants will be taken offline for a scheduled one-month turnaround later this week in a move that will squeeze supply of the nitrogen-based fertilizers, a market source confirmed on Wednesday.

The Qatar Fertiliser Co (Qafco) VI plant, which began operation in 2013, will be shut down on 28 March for routine maintenance, a source from sales arm Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Co (Muntajat) disclosed.

The plant's 2,000 tonnes/day ammonia line is scheduled to be offline for 39 days, and the 3,850 tonne/day urea line is likely to be out of action for 27 days, he said.

Earlier this year, the manufacturer carried out similar work on the Qafco V plant which produces the same daily volumes of the fertilizers.

During that shutdown, Muntajat arranged several swap ammonia cargoes with Saudi producer SABIC but continued to produce urea with ammonia stocks.

Situated at Mesaieed Industrial City in Qatar, 40km (24 miles) south of Doha, the Qafco fertilizer complex comprises six plants in total.

According to Qafco's website, the company – which is 75% owned by state-run Industries Qatar and 25% by Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara International – produced more than 3.2m tonnes of ammonia in 2012 and over 4.5m tonnes of urea.

Nearly all Qafco's ammonia and urea is sold under contract to agricultural and industrial buyers in countries including India, South Africa and Brazil.

By Richard Ewing