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Publication > Issue > Articles

The Arab Fertilizer Association's global forum

Summary

As the Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) convenes its 17th Annual International Forum and Exhibition in Cairo, Dr. Shafik Ashkar, AFA Secretary, shows how fertilizer producers in the region have continued to consolidate their competitive strengths in global markets.

Abstract

Between 1-3 February 2011, the Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) will host its 17th Annual International Forum and Exhibition in Cairo. The event is expected to attract a record number of delegates. It draws each year an ever increasing number of participants, from as many as 50 countries, making it the premier event in the Middle Eastern fertilizer calendar and one of the most important globally.

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Enhancing feedstock efficiencies in ammonia plants

Summary

A look at the advances being made in the drive to bring down energy consumption and unit costs of production.

Abstract

The production of ammonia, urea and other nitrogen fertilizers is energy-intensive, and fertilizer production consumes approximately 1.2% of the world’s total energy on an annual basis. Natural gas is the most widely used feedstock, accounting for around 70% of global ammonia production. Ammonia production in turn accounts for some 87% of the fertilizer industry’s total energy consumption, the fuel and feedstock used to produce ammonia being by far the main energy requirement. (Energy Efficiency and CO2 Emissions in Ammonia Production, IFA 2008-09 Summary Report.) The fertilizer industry must compete against other gas users, notably the power generation industry, and feedstock prices have consequently risen very sharply in recent years, placing an increasingly intense spotlight on how efficiently fertilizer producers use their energy feedstocks. A further spur comes from the need to curtail emissions in the production process.

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The impact of Gazprom's pricing on fertilizer production

Summary

The Russian fertilizer industry is at a watershed as Gazprom's phased increase in the prices it charges for natural gas begins to bite. What options are available for the ammonia and urea producers to remain competitive?

Abstract

In recent years, Russian fertilizer producers have become increasingly concerned about Gazprom’s intentions regarding the prices charged to domestic customers for natural gas. This was not wholly surprising. Until recently, the average cost of gas in the Russian market ranged between $70-90/1,000m3. This price level enabled the domestic nitrogen fertilizer producers to enjoy good profit margins, based on average production costs for ammonia and urea of between $150-230/t and selling prices in the $250-300/t range. Gazprom prices in other FSU countries fluctuated from $180 to $270/1,000m3, while elsewhere in Europe, they ranged from $260 to $300/1,000m3.

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The NBS subsidy scheme beds in

Summary

What has been the impact to date of India's much-vaunted Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) scheme? David Hayes visited the Fertiliser Association of India (FAI) to gain a first-hand appraisal.

Abstract

With above average rains continuing into August and September 2010, India was hoping for a large improvement in crop production during 2010 as the nation’s farmers began to become familiar with the government’s recently launched nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) programme. The NBS system is replacing the previous subsidy regime as a first step towards fertilizer policy reforms aimed at improving fertilizer use and boosting farm output.

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Orascom spearheading the Egyptian fertilizer presence

Summary

Through a series of recent acquisitions, this leading civil engineering group now enjoys a rising profile in the international fertilizer industry.

Abstract

A name that is gaining increasing prominence in world fertilizer markets is that of Orascom. This is a diversified group of companies based in Egypt, whose business activities range from construction to railways, hotels and telecoms, earning the group annual revenues of over $1 billion. In the fertilizer sector, the Orascom portfolio includes Egyptian Fertilizer Company (EFC) and the joint-venture Sofert Algeria ammonia/urea project that is currently under construction. In 2009, Orascom raised its global profile substantially when it contemplated making an ambitious bid to acquire Copebrás in Brazil. Last year, Orascom’s plans for expansion into other continents were fulfilled when it acquired the fertilizer operations of DSM B.V. in the Netherlands. The group has also helped to revive Nigeria’s moribund fertilizer industry. A further string to the Orascom fertilizer bow has come from its 20% ownership of the trading company, Gavilon.

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Forbes & Manhattan Inc. bringing fertilizer resources on stream

Summary

Forbes & Manhattan, Inc. is a Canadian merchant bank that builds resource assets and helps bring a diverse range of projects on stream. It is currently nurturing four projects in the fertilizer resource sector, as described here.

Abstract

Forbes & Manhattan (F&M) is a Toronto-based private merchant bank that focuses on global resource sectors, including phosphate and potash. Drawing on a team of geologists, mining engineers, financial experts and other high-calibre professionals, F&M seeks to nurture, finance and manage junior resource companies, bringing their projects to fruition via access to capital, investor and marketing support. F&M’s involvement with a portfolio of resource projects at the early stages of development leads to the creation of world-class assets, which are managed effectively to realise their maximum value.

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A surge towards new production

Summary

We review the status of projects under way or mooted in China, the United States, Australia and elsewhere in the world, and their potential impact on overall supply/demand balances.

Abstract

Potassium sulphate (K2SO4) is a virtually-chloride free fertilizer that is ideal for Cl-sensitive crops, such as fruits, vegetables and tobacco. It is available in powder, granular and soluble grades, and may be produced by the following methods:

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OCP reaps the economies who will follow?

Summary

OCP has announced a $7 billion investment programme that will see the construction of four new phosphoric acid plants at its Jorf Lasfar complex, each with a capacity of 1 million t/a. This expansion has been made possible by OCP's investment in a new phosphate slurry pipeline that will supply the phosphate from the mines at Khourigba. Compared with the current rail-based transportation system, the slurry pipeline will enable OCP not only to step up its supply of phosphate feedstock but also enable the company to reap considerable economies of scale. In this review, we assess the merits of slurry pipelines and the technology and design factors involved.

Abstract

A significant project in OCP’s continuing programme of investment to enhance its phosphate production capabilities in Morocco was announced in May 2010, when the company signed an agreement with AFD, the French government development agency to secure financing for the construction of a phosphate slurry pipeline. The deal is worth e240 million ($305.6 million) and will be used to provide a 186 km pipeline that will link OCP’s mining operations in Khourigba to the downstream facilities and export terminal at Jorf Lasfar. The pipeline will be the world’s largest phosphate transportation system, serving several mines in the Khourigba area. It will have the capacity to handle 38 million t/a of phosphate, enabling the entire output of the Khourigba mines to be transported in slurry form, yielding considerable savings in the costs of shipment.

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