Sorfert Algeria's ammonia export unit headache to last until June

17 May 2017 14:07 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Major Algerian nitrogen fertilizer producer Sorfert on Wednesday disclosed its troubled ammonia export unit will not restart until next month, meaning regular spot customers will have to source material from elsewhere.

The manufacturer revealed the line will not restart for another three to five weeks as it awaits spare parts, following its unscheduled shutdown on 22 March.

The Arzew-based firm is still running its urea facility and one ammonia unit for feedstock, with a small surplus allocated for export.

Depending on urea and ammonia prices in June, the supplier may switch between the two materials to maximise revenues.

Sorfert usually loads at least 70,000 tonnes of ammonia each month for spot and contract customers.

However, the only confirmed ammonia loadings this month are a pair of 11,000-tonne cargoes for OCI.

Both cargoes will load for Rotterdam on the LPG tanker the Wilhelm Schulte; the first on 20 May, and the second 10 days later.

Sorfert is a $2bn joint venture between OCI of the Netherlands and state-owned oil and gas entity Sonatrach.

The manufacturer can produce up to 1.6m tonnes/year of ammonia for feedstock and export, as well as 1.26m tonnes of granular urea.

By Richard Ewing