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Publication > Issue > Articles

A potential giant wakes

Summary

Nigeria is Africa's largest nation and is rich in mineral resources, oil and gas, sustaining an indigenous fertilizer industry. Hopes are rising that the country can now realise its full economic potential.

Abstract

Maintaining the good momentum of recent years, the Nigerian economy is expected to grow strongly in 2014, with advances in GDP continuing to be driven by high oil prices and robust domestic demand. (Oxford Business Group Economic Update [November 2013].) The IMF forecasts 7.4% GDP growth this year, up from an estimated 6.2% in 2013. A large domestic market of 160 million people and buoyant crude oil exports (which totalled $93 billion in 2012) helped to reinforce a more stable naira currency. However, institutional and infrastructural weaknesses continue to act as a brake on progress, and potential overseas investors may also be deterred by instability in the north of the country and oil theft. The hydrocarbons sector remains the backbone of the Nigerian economy, but the IMF considers the economy to lack diversification, while the agricultural sector urgently requires modernisation. To address this, the Nigerian government is encouraging diversification away from the oil and gas sector and it is also addressing the infrastructure deficit and the development of the agricultural sector through modernisation and the establishment of staple-crop processing zones. Keywords: Natural gas; LNG; NAFCON; Ammonia; Urea; Notore; Orascom; Onne; Rivers State; Project; Toyo; IFC; Joint venture; Agriculture; Subsidy; Sub-Saharan Africa

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JIFCO prepares to commission acid plant

Summary

Jordan Phosphates Mines Company and its partners are preparing to inaugurate their joint-venture phosphoric acid plant at Eshidiyah, Jordan. We examine the background to the project and its development.

Abstract

In March 2008, Jordan Phosphates Mines Company (JPMC) and Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Ltd. (IFFCO) formed a joint venture limited liability company to build a 475,000 t/a P2O5 phosphoric acid plant and 1.43 million t/a sulphuric acid facility at Eshidyah, Jordan. As Jordan India Fertilizer Company (JIFCO), ownership is split between JPMC (with a 48% shareholding), IFFCO (27%) and Kisan International Trading FZE of Dubai (25%). Under the terms of the JV, JPMC is to supply under a long-term agreement the phosphate rock required for the plant. The plant’s phosphoric acid output will be shipped via the port of Aqaba. The JIFCO site covers an area of 1.7 km2 for the plant and also includes the gypsum disposal site of about 1.7 km2. The area was chosen as the best location to build the plants, being close to JPMC’s phosphate rock mining operations, and the Jordanian government designated the area as a free zone for phosphate chemical industries. Eshidiya is located in southern Jordan, approximately 250 km south of Amman and 180 km north east of Aqaba. Keywords: Jordan; India; JPMC; Phosphate rock; Phosphoric acid; Sulphuric acid; Joint venture; Eshidiyah; IFFCO; Aqaba; Fluosilicic acid; Grinding; Ball mill; Storgae; EPCM; PDIL

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EPC or EPCM? Choosing the right contract

Summary

We assess project delivery, contrasting the respective merits of EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contracts with EPCM (engineering, procurement and construction management). Despite the similarity in names, EPC and EPCM are very different forms of contracting.

Abstract

At Phosphates 2013, Thomas Schanze, Infrastructure Programs Manager at Jacobs Engineering, discussed Project delivery in a challenging climate, contrasting the respective merits of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and engineering, procurement and construction management contracts (EPCM). Under an EPC delivery model, an EPC contractor will generally be responsible for the design, construction and commissioning of a facility. An EPC contract is similar to a design and construct contract in that, under both contracting methods, the contractor delivers a completed project from design. However, the EPC contracting model is typically associated with developing an operating facility, such as a mine or manufacturing plant, as opposed to a building. An EPC contract therefore usually contains a performance specification, which outlines performance standards that the completed facility is required to achieve. (Construction Alert: the ABC of EPC and EPCM Contracting, Blake Dawson [December 2011].) Keywords: EPC; EPCM; Contractor; Management; Turnkey; Engineering; Revamp; Alliance contracting

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Criteria for success

Summary

We review the latest projects, technological developments and leading suppliers of specialised equipment.

Abstract

Increased opportunities for international trade and investments in new production capacity have prompted many fertilizer companies to enhance their storage and handling capacity. This is a field in which operational efficiencies continue to improve, spurred by technological advances and an ever tighter regulatory climate, especially in the field of safety and environmental controls. The purpose of a dry bulk fertilizer terminal is to provide an interface between a production facility, transportation and storage of the finished product, and delivery to the end-user. The seasonality of demand may require large volumes of product to be moved in short periods of time. Throughout the transportation, handling, storage and onwards distribution stages, the integrity of the product must be kept intact: losses through degradation, segregation and other factors must be assiduously avoided. Keywords: Terminal; Dry bulk; Shiploader; Unloader; Conveyor; Stacker; Grab; Dust; Logisitcs; Emissions; Noise; Environment; Railcar; Safety; QAFCO; Aumund; FLSchmidt; Cargotec; Siwertell; ThyssenKrupp; Riga; port handling; equipment

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A phosphate market snapshot

Summary

In the latest in the series of webinars organised by The Sulphur Institute (TSI) and BCInsight, Donald Messick, Vice President Communications, Marketing and Agriculture, presented The Phosphate Market on 11 December 2013.

Abstract

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant, animal and human life, playing a role in energy storage and transfer, one of the “Big Three” macronutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is the most abundant, but phosphorus (P) is nonetheless critical to crop nutrition. Table 1 lists the phosphorus requirements of the major crops, together with those of other primary nutrients and sulphur. P in most commercial fertilizers comes from phosphate rock found in fossil remains laid down beneath the oceans and later uplifted. In North America, phosphate rock is most notably found in Florida. Morocco and other countries as well also have abundant phosphate rock reserves. Keywords: Webinar; The Sulphur Institute; TSI; Phosphates; Phosphate rock; Superphosphate; Phosphoric acid; DAP; MAP; TSP

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EuroChem stays on schedule

Summary

As EuroChem announced its financial results for 2013, we report on the diversified Russian fertilizer group's progress with its two greenfield potash projects.

Abstract

EuroChem, Russia’s largest mineral fertilizer producer, reports continuing progress towards bringing on stream its two greenfield potash projects, and the company expects that both the VolgaKaliy and Usolskiy Potash mines and processing plants will commence production on schedule, with the first ore being mined at both sites by early 2017. Each project presents major technical challenges. The VolgaKaliy project seeks to harness the Gremyachinskoe deposit, in the Volgograd region. The sylvinite deposit is one of the deepest in Europe, at between 1,000-1,250 m. It is a rich resource, with JORC proven and probable reserves of 492 million tonnes at 39.78% KCl. Measured and indicated resources are 1,337 million tonnes. EuroChem’s mining licence area covers 96.9 km2, and the productive layer ranges from 2 m to 21.46 m, with an average thickness of 8.98 m. Keywords: EUROCHEM; VolgaKaliy; Usolskiy; Potash; Mine; Project; Greenfield; Sylvinite; Shaft; Verkhnekamsoe; Gremyachinskoe; Apatite; Kazakhstan

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A swift rebound for potash?

Summary

Who holds the winning cards in terms of the costs of mining, processing and transportation?

Abstract

After the bloodletting over prices that characterised international potash markets during the second half of 2013, hopes have been raised that 2014 will see a return to greater market stability, as well as firmer prices. As shown in Figs. 1 and 2, prices and potash industry operating rates were badly hit last year. While renewed co-operation between Russia and Belarus has been signalled, the early indications are however that there may be only a limited upside to pricing, with a floor being found with Chinese contracts. While potash supply continues to be relatively tight, and prices in Brazil have moved up, the leading potash suppliers face considerable challenges as they seek to restore earlier levels of profitability, and the spotlight will remain on keeping production costs under control. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp) was swift in tackling its cost platform in the wake of severely reduced margins. On 3 December 2013, the group announced cuts to its workforce spread across the nutrient sector that would reduce its total workforce in Canada, the United States and Trinidad by around 18%. PotashCorp president and CEO William (Bill) Doyle stated that the changes were intended to optimise the group’s lowest-cost operations, while retaining the ability to respond to expected demand levels. Keywords: Potash; Russia; Belarus; PotashCorp; Intrepid Potash; Saskatchewan; Capacity; Uralkali; India; China; Malaysia; Thailand

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Tailor-made solutions

Summary

This review of speciality phosphate fertilizers covers products such as monopotassium phosphate (MKP), urea superphosphate (USP), soluble MAP and direct-application phosphate rock. These products offer a cost-effective input that helps growers achieve higher yields and better crop quality, often in the face of scarce water resources and limited arable land. We assess the products available and provide a Who's Who profiling the leading suppliers of speciality phosphate fertilizers.

Abstract

Potassium phosphates are excellent fertilizers, characterised by their high analysis. Most potassium phosphates used in fertilizers are produced from potassium hydroxide or carbonate and phosphoric acid, and are used in liquids for foliar applications or other speciality uses. The principal varieties are listed in Table 1. No process has been developed that is economical enough to result in widespread production. At present, such fertilizers are used primarily for applications on high-value crops, where the high cost and premium price can be justified. Keywords: MKP; USP; Monopotassium phosphate; Urea superphosphate; DAPR; Direct application; Phosphate rock; Calcium; Magnesium; Polyphosphate; Solution; Vietnam; Haifa; ICL; Yara; Baconco

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NPK production processes

Summary

The merits of the available technologies are assessed, including the mixed acid and nitrophosphate routes, together with such granulation technologies as steam and fluidised bed spray granulation.

Abstract

Compound NPK fertilizers are manufactured through two main routes: chemical and physical. The chemical routes are all based on acids, namely: l The nitric acid route (nitrophosphate or ODDA route). The main feedstocks are phosphate rock, nitric acid (generating nitrophosphoric acid), ammonia, potassium salts, ammonium sulphate and sulphuric acid. l The sulphuric acid route (also known as the mixed acid route). This is turn is sub-divided into phosphoric acid/pipe reactor system and granulation (NPK, AP); mixed acid processes/phosphate rock digestion (NPK); and S-NPK, potassium sulphate-based NPK/Hongri process. Keywords: Nitrophosphate; ODDA; Process; Granulation; Technology; Feedstock; Sulphuric acid; Pipe reactor; Hongri process; Acidulation; Venturi; Oversize; Dust Scrubber; Ammoniation; Cyclone Spherodiser; Recycle; Fluidised bed; pH

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