Earlier this week, Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Qatar’s Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry, spoke at the inauguration ceremony of the expansion of the QAFCO-4 fertiliser plant.

The project included the construction of an ammonia plant with a nameplate production capacity of 2,000 metric tons per day and a urea plant with a design production capacity of 3,200 metric tons per day. QAFCO now has an annual production capacity of 2 million tons of ammonia and 2.8 million tons of urea, making it the world’s largest single site producer of urea. The ammonia-4 and urea-4 units are among the largest plants of their kinds in the world.

Below is an excerpt of the speech.

“Extensive efforts were undertaken to expand and upgrade the facilities of Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO) since its inception in 1969 (which) heralded the very birth of modern industry in the country and represented an important mainstay among the nation’s petrochemical establishments.

“QAFCO has also set an example of a successful partnership between local corporations and multinational companies, namely Qatar Petroleum and Yara international.

“The QAFCO-4 expansion is a state-of-the-art production train built with a total cost of over 2 billion riyal. (US$1=3.65 riyal). The project represents a significant addition to the vigorously growing national economy, being part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at realising optimal utilisation of the country’s resources and diversification of the state’s revenue sources.

“This strategy works through the implementation of economic and social development projects and the involvement of Qatari nationals in the ownership of national companies, prominent among which is Industries Qatar (IQ), the parent company of Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO).

“In conformity with QP’s stringent systems in occupational health, safety and environment, we were careful to ensure that relevant standards are incorporated in the engineering and design of QAFCO-4 facilities. The contractors involved in the construction of the project were required to comply with such standards. The new plants also meet the requirements stipulated by the Qatari Supreme Council for Environment and Natural Reserves as well as all other internationally recognised standards.

“In line with the Emir’s policy for provision of career opportunities and human resources development for nationals, a number of Qatari engineers were directly involved in the project throughout its various stages. They received the necessary training in the operation and maintenance of the new facilities. As a result, all the supervisory positions in the project have now been assumed by Qatari staff.

“The completion of QAFCO-4 is a proud achievement that has made QAFCO the largest single site producer of urea in the world and placed Qatar among the world’s leading producers of nitrogenous fertilisers, thus enabling the country to make inroads into new market across the globe.

“I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to our shareholders Yara International and to Uhde Group, the project contractors. We are grateful also to QAFCO management, QAFCO-4 Project management team and to all the parties that contributed in any way towards the successful completion of this project, including the various contracting companies and the Arab and international financing institutions that provided the necessary funding for the project.”

This quantum leap in production will certainly augment the national income and give impetus to the economic development process.

A number of auxiliary units have been erected as part of the QAFCO-4 expansion project. These include a seawater intake system, a refrigerated double-walled ammonia storage tank with a capacity of 45,000 metric tons, a urea bulk hall with a storage capacity 160,000 metric tons and a new berth on jetty-2 for the export of ammonia and urea.

The project construction works started in October 2001, when the contract was signed with Uhde Group as the project main contractors. Uhde is a world-class engineering company, with an excellent track record in the fertiliser and petrochemical industry. It built several fertiliser and petrochemical plants all over the world, including QAFCO’s third production train QAFCO-3 in 1997.

Several local and international companies were also engaged as subcontractors throughout the various stages of the project. In keeping with the modernization policy pursued by the country, particular attention is always given to the involvement of national contracting companies to favour their growth and enable them to respond to national requirements in the future.

Among the jobs undertaken by local contractors are the fabrication of steel structures, painting and insulation works, and installation of fire alarm systems. The value of the materials and services obtained from the local market totaled $ 83 million.