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Ruwais Fertiliser expansion on track

In spite of a sharp fall in fertiliser prices worldwide, the new plant will go ahead later this year.

The Ruwais Fertiliser Company (FERTIL) will push on with a multibillion dirham expansion project in the emirate in spite of a sharp fall in fertiliser prices worldwide, the company's general manager said today. Mohamed Rashid al Rashidsaid FERTIL, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), will award a construction contract for the new plant in Ruwais midway through this year. The facility will produce urea and ammonia, two basic chemicals in use by the fertiliser industry worldwide.

"This is the right time for FERTIL to start constructing a new plant, because the construction cost is relatively low compared to two years ago," Mr al Rashid told the Middle East Fertilizer Symposium in the capital. "By the time we will start the plant, the price will come up to normal." Mr al Rashid said the plant would be completed by 2012, and he confirmed a recent report in MEED, the business magazine, that FERTIL has shortlisted three companies for the construction contract: Samsung Engineering of Korea, and Snamprogetti and Tecnimont, both of Italy.

Prices for urea in the US, the world's biggest market, fell by more than 60 per cent since last summer, while ammonia prices fell by 70 per cent. FERTIL officials declined to offer a cost estimate for the project, but C V Venugopal, the chief executive of Oman India Fertilizer Company, which produces ammonia and urea, estimated it would cost about $1.2bn to build a new urea plant in Oman of slightly larger capacity than the Ruwais project.

cstanton@thenational.ae

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