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Qafco chief stresses on sustainable productionby Jyotsna Ravishankar on Oct 29, 2012
Qafco’s chief executive is not content with just boosting capacity for fertiliser production in Qatar. He says the industry must invest to ensure mineral fertilisers do not damage the environment, and that responsible growth must be the focus in the year ahead
With the combination of population growth and the diminishing availability of arable land, the role of mineral fertilisers, in the production of food will continue to be crucial.
The world fertiliser industry, along with others in the food production supply chain is working hard to meet this target and the GCC fertiliser producers will continue to play a very crucial role, says Khalifa Al Sowaidi, CEO, Qafco.
Al Sowaidi is not content with just boosting capacity for fertiliser production in Qatar. He believes in the need for industry-wide sustainable growth.
“It is not just about being the world number one but also about reducing nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide emissions,” he told Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East at the recent Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association Fertilisers Conference held in Dubai in September.
“Mineral fertilisers are extremely important as the world food production depends on them.”
The Gulf is fortunate, says Sowaidi, as it has sufficient feed stock for fertiliser production, and also because massive Asian markets are right in our backyard.
“Only when India does not need our produce, do we need turn our ships to a different direction,” he says.
South Asia is the largest export market for GCC nitrogen products followed by South East Asia, North America and Africa.
Qafco has today grown from a modest manufacturer to a giant producer and seller of nitrogenous fertilizers.
Speaking about progress on the Qafco 6 plant, Al Sowaidi said it was in a very good shape and all ready for its formal inauguration in December.
With the inauguration of Qafco-5 itself, Qatar became the world’s largest single-site producer of ammonia and urea.
“We expect to further enhance this position after inauguration of Qafco-6 project at the end of this year,” Al Sowaidi said.
The export of urea from Qafco will reach 5.6 million tonnes, representing about one-eighth (1/8th) of the world’s traded urea.
When asked about US Shale gas finds, Al Sowaidi said anything that means lower gas prices was good news. However, he said personally he would advise a ‘wait and watch’ policy over the long term impact of Shale gas.
Asked if the company was scouting for any new partnerships, Al Sowaidi says, “We are always on the look-out for new partners and new business, but at the minute that is all I can say.”