Dutch fertiliser and chemical firm OCI is to expand its ammonia import terminal in the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands as it seeks to meet rising demand.
OCI’s terminal is the only ammonia facility in Rotterdam and the planned expansion will triple its throughput capacity to 1.2 million tpa. The company has just taken the final investment decision (FID) on the expansion, following rising European ammonia imports in the past year, compensation for lower production, and ongoing high gas prices.
In addition, the expanded terminal will be able to offer ammonia bunkering for ammonia-fuelled vessels, which are expected to launch in 2025, and will act as a hub for hydrogen, in the form of blue and green ammonia, from regions with ample renewable energy and natural gas resources, such as the Middle East and North Africa.
The work will be carried out in stages, with the initial increase in throughput capacity from 400,000 tpa to 1.2 million tpa achieved through low-cost upgrades to OCI’s existing infrastructure. OCI expects to complete this initial phase in 2023, at a cost of below US$20 million (€19 million). The company has completed a basic engineering package for the construction of a new world-scale ammonia tank and a scale-up in jetty infrastructure, which will constitute phase 2. This will increase capacity to 3 million tpa, and OCI says it will begin permitting activities before the end of 2022.
‘As a global leader in ammonia production, trading and distribution, this project is a very logical step to leverage our incumbency status in Rotterdam to enhance our ammonia value chain: never has this been as vital as it is now,’ says Ahmed El-Hoshy, CEO of OCI, adding: ‘This vital piece of the global value chain will provide essential ammonia to keep downstream fertiliser plants running today in this volatile global natural gas environment, and in the future will also offer low carbon ammonia to feed the Dutch and wider European hydrogen needs in power generation, marine fuels, and broader industrial value chains, thereby reducing dependence on fossil fuels.’
Allard Castelein, CEO of Port of Rotterdam, says that OCI’s expansion project fits in with the Port’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2050, adding: ‘As sailing on ammonia is something new, we’re working hard together with the business community and public authorities to have the regulations and safe handling procedures for ammonia bunkering operations in place in time.’