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Algeria’s gas-based fertilizers output is beginning a long-anticipated expansion now that state firm Sonatrach has renegotiated gas supply deals.
Algeria’s total fertilizers production capacity has risen to 3.84mn tons/year, following the start-up of Egyptian firm Orascom’s 2mn t/y Sorfert plant at Arzew. The expansion means that running Algeria’s fertilizer plants at full capacity would require over 350mn cfd (3.6 bcm/year) of gas feedstock, compared with some 150mn cfd for the two previously existing plants.
However, faltering Algerian gas production and competition for gas from the electricity, petrochemicals, LNG and pipeline export sectors have limited supply to fertilizers plants. The gas squeeze and relatively low priority of fertilizer production have kept the sector undernourished, but there are signs of green shoots. For a start, state petroleum regulator Alnaft is offering 31 blocks to encourage oil and gas exploration – although potential bidders are challenging the terms (MEES, 22 August).
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