The Sultanate of Oman has emerged as one of the world's top exporters of fertilisers in recent years, thanks to its abundant reserves of natural gas and strategic location. The country's fertiliser industry has been growing rapidly, with several major players investing in new plants and expanding their production capacity. The World Bank reports that Oman exported $1.38 billion worth of fertilisers in 2021, making it at the top four after Russia, China and Saudi Arabia. In 2022, exported fertilisers worth $2.6 billion, according to International Fertiliser Association.
One of the key factors driving Oman's success as a fertiliser exporter is its proximity to major markets in Asia. The country's location on the Arabian Sea makes it an ideal hub for shipping fertiliser products to countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, which are among the world's largest consumers of fertilisers.
In addition to its strategic location, Oman also has abundant reserves of natural gas, which is a key feedstock for the production of fertilisers. This has enabled the country to develop a thriving petrochemical industry, with several major players investing in new plants and expanding their production capacity.
One of the biggest players in Oman's fertiliser industry is the Oman India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO), which is a joint venture between OQ (50%), Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (25%) and Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited (25%). OMIFCO operates a large ammonia-urea plant in the port town of Sur, which has a production capacity of 2 million tonnes per year.
Another major player in Oman's fertiliser industry is the Salalah Methanol Company (SMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Oman Oil Company. SMC operates a methanol plant in Salalah, which has a production capacity of 3,000 metric tonnes per day. Methanol is a key feedstock for the production of formaldehyde, which is used in the manufacture of urea-formaldehyde resins, a common fertiliser.
Oman's success as a fertiliser exporter has not gone unnoticed by the international community. In 2021, the country was ranked as the world's fifth-largest exporter of urea, with exports totaling 4.8 million tonnes. OMIFCO, on the other hand, just recently said that its urea is now being exported to as many as 14 countries globally.
Also, a study last year prepared by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce revealed that Oman is among the Arab countries that can supply Brazil with fertilisers exported by Russia. The study said that Oman could provide fertilisers (nitrate and phosphate mixtures and ammonium nitrate mixtures in aqueous solution or ammonia) to Brazil. It also stated that Oman exports to Brazil could reach to $1 billion. In 2020, Oman exported $65 million worth of fertilisers to Brazil.
Looking ahead, Oman's fertiliser industry is expected to continue to grow, driven by strong demand from key markets in Asia. The government is also committed to supporting the industry, with plans to invest in new infrastructure and provide incentives for companies to expand their operations.