August 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm #2148
Takamul to set up sulphur bentonite fertilizer project at Sohar
By Conrad Prabhu 8/29/11
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CoreSulphur, Awtad Projects are partners in Sohar Sulphur Fertilizers LLC
MUSCAT — Takamul Investment Company, the majority owned downstream investment arm of Oman Oil Company , is teaming up with leading international technology provider CoreSulphur in the establishment of a major sulphur bentonite and micronutrient complex near the Port of Sohar.
The partners, together with Oman-based Awtad Projects and Development, have set up Sohar Sulphur Fertilizers LLC to own and operate the complex. The state-of-the-art facility, which is the first of its kind in the Sultanate, will be developed close to the Sohar Refinery plant of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries (Orpic).
According to officials, sulphur as feedstock for the project will be sourced from Sohar Refinery, which at full capacity can produce around 140 tonnes per day of molten sulphur — a key by-product of the crude oil refining process.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Sohar Refinery with Takamul about a year ago, this output of sulphur will be committed to the Sohar Sulphur Fertilizers LLC. The agreement allows for the refinery’s output of sulphur, which is currently being exported regionally and internationally, to be further processed into a commercially valuable commodity.
Demand for sulphur bentonite with micronutrients is growing rapidly as the cost of conventional urea fertilizer, which uses natural gas as feedstock, continues to skyrocket. Besides, sulphur bentonite has enormous natural and environmental advantages over conventional fertilizers, it is argued. The sulphur bentonite content of the fertilizer reduces the soil pH, which in turn improves its micronutrient and phosphate uptake, as well as improves the soil structure by removing sodium and enhancing water penetration.
Furthermore, micronutrient sulphur fertilizers are shown to improve nitrogen efficiency by 27 per cent, and reduce nitrate leaching by 30-35 per cent, resulting in higher yields and better crop quality.
Additionally, sulphur has a dramatic effect on crop development and quality and plays an important role in many plant processes such as the formation of protein, oils, chlorophyll, enzymes, hormones, lycosides, and vitamin production.
Work on the sulphur fertilizers project at Sohar is due to commence shortly with the plant slated to be operational by the end of the second quarter of next year. Sohar Sulphur Fertilizers has partnered with Dubai based RNZ DMCC to market the product, which is primarily targeted at high-growth markets in India, Northern Africa, the Mediterranean region, Europe, and Australia.
Significantly, the project marks Takamul’s maiden foray into the downstream petrochemical industry in the Sultanate. Majority owned by Oman Oil Company, an Omani government enterprise and investment arm in the field of energy, Takamul says the fertilizer project will be a good addition to its efforts in creating a petrochemical value chain in Oman as well as to diversify its portfolio into the rapidly growing agricultural industry.
Set up in 2006 to develop a sustainable downstream chain to support Oman’s thriving industrial sector, the company had made headway in its objective to promote and invest in value-added economically viable projects that feed off local upstream industries that include metals, petrochemicals and minerals. Takamul is a key investor in a number of ancillary aluminium projects that receive hot metal from Sohar Aluminium’s giant smelter at Sohar.
California-based CoreSulphur will play a key role in the development of the Sohar project. The company is billed as the world’s premier, full-service sulphur forming and sulphur bentonite fertilizer project operator. Through its Core-Drop Turnkey Sulphur Solutions, CoreSulphur provides Engineering, Procurement and Technology (EPT) services around the globe.
CoreSulphur designs, engineers, installs, maintains and operates sulphur operations around the globe, providing rapidly deployed, highly efficient sulphur fertilizer plants. CoreSulphur provides involuntary producers of molten sulphur, such as refiners of oil and natural gas, a comprehensive range of solutions including the forming of sulphur and fertilizer production.
Commenting on its partnership with Takamul, CoreSulphur’s Managing Director, Kent Lambden said: “As the foremost expert in sulphur bentonite and sulphur micronutrient fertilizers, CoreSulphur’s formation of Sohar Sulphur Fertilizer positions us as a fast-growing international player in a high-growth market. Our partnerships with leading firms, such as Takamul and Awtad, highlight our expertise and stance within the industry. We’re extremely pleased to expand into Oman to provide unmatched products to areas that need it most.”
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