Oman India Fertiliser Company SAOC (Omifco), which owns and operates a two-train urea and ammonia production complex at Sur, will be debottlenecked to help boost the capacity of the plant, a top official revealed here yesterday.
Eng Isam al Zadjali (pictured), Chairman of Omifco, also said that a decision on whether to proceed with a longstanding plan to add a third train to the complex will be taken sometime next year.
“The board has decided to move forward with a debottlenecking project to expand the existing facilities with literally no additional gas use. So this is something on the table we are working on,” Al Zadjali, who is also CEO – Upstream at Oman Oil and Orpic Group (a 50 per cent shareholder in Omifco) said.
A joint Oman-India venture, Omifco was launched in 2006 with a capacity to 1.65 metric tons/year of urea and 350,000 tons/yr of ammonia. Indian fertiliser cooperatives Krishak Bharati Cooperative (25 per cent), and Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative (25 per cent) are also shareholders in the project.
In remarks to journalists on the sidelines of the 10th Fertiliser Convention, under way at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, Al Zadjali said Omifco was still discussing growth plans with its shareholders.
“We have run studies – technical and commercial – on expanding the current capacity of Omifco, but any decision will depend a lot on the future (outlook) for urea and ammonia, as well as the markets we are going into. This discussion is still ongoing with our shareholders and with the government here to see what is the best way of expansion: Is it the (conventional) third train or any other ideas of producing new materials perhaps.”
Omifco, which exports the bulk of its fertiliser output to India under long-term offtake arrangements, is keen to expand, said the official. “We are interested to grow, but is it in urea and ammonia, or something else, is something we are continuing talking. This decision is not only market driven, but also driven by the gas price driven, operational efficiency, and so on,” he added.