Fertil-2 Project, United Arab Emirates

FERTIL (Ruwais Fertiliser Industries) is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). The company was established in October 1980 as a joint venture between ADNOC (66%) and TOTAL (33%).

Construction of the first processing plant began in 1980 and production began in December 1983. The plan was to use lean gas supplied from the onshore fields of BAB, ASAB (a production enhancement contract worth $2.3bn was awarded to Petrofac in January 2009) and Thamama-C to manufacture fertilisers.

The plant, which is located in Ruwais Industrial Zone about 235km from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, consists of ammonia and urea processing plants with an installed capacity of 1,000 metric tons per day (MTPD) for ammonia and 1,500MTPD for urea. Since commissioning the two plants have been improved and current ammonia production stands at 1,310MTPD and urea at 1,850MTPD.


The ammonia plant was designed and constructed by Japanese company Chiyoda Engineering Corporation using a process licence from M/s Haldor Topsoe of Denmark, while the process licence for the carbon dioxide recovery unit was from the Ben Field Corporation (US).

"This project will allow FERTIL to double its output of urea for fertiliser production or melamine."

A hydrogen recovery unit, licensed by M/s Costain of the UK, was added in 1988. The urea plant was designed and constructed by Chiyoda Corporation using a process licence from M/s Stamicarbon of the Netherlands. The latest development, which was started in late 2008, is a $240m debottlenecking project of the urea plant, which will see its capacity increase by 50%.

FERTIL has engaged M/s Descon Engineering of Pakistan for engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and start-up ($177m) and M/S Urea Casale of Switzerland for detailed engineering. The contracts were signed in July 2007.

The project will allow the plant to produce 2,700MTPD of urea so it can provide about 800MTPD for the melamine plant and 1,900MTPD for granulation.

The granulation unit technology licence is being provided by Uhde Fertilizer Technology of the Netherlands (2,500MTPD) and the carbon dioxide recovery technology and licence is being provided by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (400MTPD).

Type of technology

Following consultation in late 2008 and early 2009 between ADNOC and TOTAL regarding ammonia and urea production capacity, it was decided a new plant should be built (FERTIL-1 was already involved in a capacity enhancement project). In October 2009 FERTIL awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract to Samsung Engineering of Korea to develop a new $1.2bn fertiliser plant known as FERTIL-2.

"The scheme marks a decision by ADNOC to diversify into mid- and downstream petrochemicals."

The new facility will be located in the Ruwais Industrial Zone and will produce ammonia and urea, with a production capacity of 2,000MTPD and 3,500MTPD respectively. The plant start-up is expected in January 2013. Uhde of Germany will provide the process technology licence for ammonia production.

Despite the world market price for urea and ammonia being depressed, this project marks a decision by ADNOC to diversify into mid- and downstream petrochemicals, allowing them to maximise the economic benefits of gas and oil reserves.

This project will allow FERTIL to double its output of urea for fertiliser production or for use in the production of melamine. The UAE has gas reserves of 214 trillion cubic feet (tcf), with Abu Dhabi controlling about 90% of the reserve with 198.5bn tcf, followed by Sharjah with 10.7bn tcf, Dubai with 4bn tcf and Ras Al Khaimah with 1.2bn tcf of gas.