Omifco expansion decision to be made early next year

Muscat - 

Oman India Fertiliser Company (Omifco) is likely to make its final decision early next year on whether to expand the capacity of its plant by adding a third urea-ammonia production stream or to look for producing more products from the Sur-based plant.

Speaking to Muscat Daily on the sidelines of the 10th Fertilizer Convention held by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) at Kempinski Hotel Muscat, Omifco chairman and Oman Oil Company’s CEO Isam al Zadjali said, “We are still discussing the matter with shareholders and with the government to see what is the best possible way to go for expansion.”

Meanwhile, Omifco is also looking to launch a de-bottlenecking exercise at its manufacturing plant to boost efficiencies.

Last year, the company announced that it had launched commercial and technical studies to explore the possibility of adding a third-train of production with an estimated investment of around US$1bn. Currently, it has two ammonia plants and two urea plants. Annual production capacity for urea and ammonia is 1.652mn tonnes and 1.15mn tonnes, respectively.

Zadjali said that the discussions are going on about whether to go for the conventional third train of production for making urea and ammonia or to look for producing something new from the plant.

The decision to have or not to have the third-train will depend on a number of factors such as plant’s operational efficiencies, pricing of natural gas in the global market, and the projected demand for urea and ammonia from the targeted markets, Zadjali said.

He said Omifco has already completed both technical and commercial studies and is now discussing the issue at the board level and also with the government for future course of action, and the board is likely to come up with a final decision sometime early next year.

He, however, added that in the meantime, the Omifco board has decided to go ahead with the de-bottlenecking exercise at its plant to improve efficiencies without increasing the natural gas requirements.

“We are discussing what is the best possible course of action for the future, it could either be the traditional third train of production or could be producing any other new material. But one thing is clear, we are interested in growing business, be it urea, ammonia or something else,” he added.

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