With a production capacity of 40.9 million tons, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) fertilizer capacity has grown by 102 per cent since 2004, according to the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA).
Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, said: “Rising from relatively humble beginnings, the GCC’s fertilizer industry has seen remarkable growth in the last ten years, earning $6.5 billion in revenues in 2014.
“This export oriented industry supplies valuable products to farmers all around the world, improving food security in Asia, India and Europe and thereby solidifying trade relations between the Arabian Gulf producers and its diverse markets.”
With a production capacity of 17.2 million tons and 10.7 million tons respectively, Saudi Arabia and Qatar lead fertilizer production in the region.
“With the launch of Safco 5 this year, notable for possessing one of the world’s largest carbon capture units, and Maaden’s Waad Al Shamal phosphates facility in 2016, Saudi fertilizers will continue to see much dynamism in the near future,” said Dr Al-Sadoun.
Qatar is the largest urea producer in the region, manufacturing 37 per cent of the GCC’s production of this commodity. Additionally, Qafco operates the largest single site ammonia and urea production plant.
Looking ahead, the GCC’s fertilizer manufacturers can look into diversifying their product portfolio to include specialty fertilizers, said a GPCA statement.
To date, only 396,000 tons of specialty fertilizers are currently produced in the GCC, it said.
“Specialty fertilizers have unique qualities that define them against urea or diammonium phosphate fertilizers,” said Dr Al- Sadoun.
“It is these innovative characteristics that yield a higher return in the global marketplace and therefore result in greater returns for the producer and the good news is that the UAE has already demonstrated that it can manufacture this valuable product.”