QAFCO V and VI Projects, Qatar

Qatar Fertiliser Company is a major manufacturer and supplier of urea and ammonia in Qatar and international markets. The company produces a range of products including anhydrous ammonia, urea formaldehyde and prilled / granular urea.

The company, which is based in Mesaieed Industrial City in Qatar, was founded in 1969 as a joint venture between the Qatari Government and foreign investors and has set up four urea and ammonia production facilities over the past 35 years including Qafco-1 (1973), Qafco-II (1979), Qafco-III (1997) and Qafco-IV (2004). These facilities form the Qafco complex and are four completely integrated trains, each of which consists of an ammonia plant and a urea plant.

The overall annual production capacity of the four plants is two million tons of ammonia and three million tons of urea. The latest project being undertaken by Qafco is the construction and integration of a fifth production train, Qafco-V.


"When Qafco-V is complete it will give an annual production of urea of 4.3 million tons."

The Qafco-V project is a 75:25 joint venture between Industries Qatar (owner of Qatar Fertiliser Co) and Yara International of Norway and will cost $3.2bn. The Qafco-V project was made possible by a 25-year gas supply contract signed between JV and Qatar Petroleum in February 2005.

The new plant is being constructed on the existing Qafco site in Mesaieed adjacent to its four sister trains and will make the Qatar Fertiliser Company the largest single-site producer of ammonia and urea in the world.

When Qafco-V is complete it will give an annual production of urea of 4.3 million tons and scale ammonia production up to 3.8 million tons. The construction is on schedule and expected to be completed in late 2010 or early 2011.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project was awarded to a consortium of Snamprogetti of Italy and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company of South Korea in November 2007, with construction starting in January 2008. Uhde GmbH was the front-end engineering and design (FEED) consultant for the process plants and Chicago Bridge and Iron was the FEED consultant for the off-sites and utilities.

The foundation stone for Qafco-V was laid by HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in early 2008. The Qafco-V facility will produce ammonia via two trains, each with a nominal capacity of 2,300t per day. These will use Haldor Topsoe technology and have the ability to operate independently if required.

The urea plant at the project will have a daily capacity of 3,850t. The excess ammonia from Qafco-V will come to about one million tons per year and this may be channelled to a new plant to produce granular urea.

Type of technology

As part of the Qafco-V project a co-generation power plant is also being constructed by GE-Oil and Gas (the contract was signed in January 2008), which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2009. This will make use of excess steam and heat produced at the Qafco site to produce electrical power for the national grid and surrounding industrial concerns.

The co-generation plant, which will be gas turbine-based will, have a capacity of 140MW and 600t of steam per hour. The facility will include four General Electric Frame 6B gas turbine generators, five steam turbines, five compressors and additional heat recovery steam generators.

"As part of the Qafco-V project a co-generation power plant is also being constructed."

The gas turbines and compressors have been manufactured in Florence, Italy, and the steam turbines in Le Creusot, France. The turbines are equipped with dry low NOx (DLN) technology, which will make the facility more environmentally friendly. ERG’s APC Process Engineering division was awarded a €1m contract to supply two gas conditioning plants for the Qafco-V fertiliser plant expansion project in July 2009 (to remove corrosive hydrogen sulphide from the feed gas to the ammonia production trains).


Qafco-VI will be a granular urea production train with a capacity of about 1.3 million tons per year that will cost about $610m. The project is a joint venture between Yara International and Qafco, and the agreement was signed in October 2009. Qafco was keen to shorten the tender process for the new project and appointed the EPC contract to Saipem and Hyundai in November 2009.

Construction is expected to take 35 months and completion is scheduled for the end of the third quarter of 2012. When Qafco-VI is completed the total annual production capacity at the site will have grown to 5.6 million tons of urea. Qafco-VI will include a 3,800MTPD urea plant, a granulator unit with a design capacity of 3,850MTPD, urea granules storage, a material handling system with a capacity of 1,000MTPH of urea granules, new seawater cooling cells, steam and power generation facilities.