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Spic's Dubai project to go on stream in a year

March 10, 2004 14:32 IST

The $200 million Spic Fertilizers and Chemicals project at the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai will go on stream in about a year as soon as gas supply to fire the facility is firmed up, the company's Chairman A C Muthiah has said.

Muthiah, who is here leading a FICCI delegation for talks with chambers of commerce in the UAE, said the facility was more than 60 per cent complete and had run aground only because of the non-availability of gas supplies.

He said initially the project was to use naphtha as fuel but as its international prices shot up, that option had become unviable.

The talks with the Dubai Government on supply of gas for the project, one of the biggest in Jebel Ali, were still continuing, he said on the sidelines of a business meeting organised here by the Indian Business and Professional Council on Tuesday.

FICCI has signed two MoUs with the Dubai and Sharjah chambers of commerce and industry to promote bilateral trade and business ties and to give a boost to the trade with UAE which currently stood at $3 billion.

Dubai growing at a fast pace is facing a gas crunch but the shortage is likely to be over once a multi-billion-dollar pipeline by Dolphin to take gas from Qatar to UAE is completed.

Spic has bought the plant, which needs 40 million cubic metres of gas per day, from Sri Lanka and had transplanted it in Jebel Ali a few years ago.

The Spic Dubai plant is a joint venture with Dubai-based ETA and was conceived in 1996. So far Spic has invested $35 million in the project which will have the capacity to produce 400,000 tonnes per annum of urea and 226,000 tpa of ammonia which are to be exported to India and other Asian countries, Muthiah said.

The $1 billion Spic India Group's other project in the Middle East is IndoJordan Chemicals in Jordan in which Spic holds 56 per cent stake.

The other partners in the project are Jordan Phosphate Manufacturing Company with 34 per cent and the remaining 10 per cent by the Arab Investment Company.

The plant's 200,000 metric tonnes of phosphoric acid is all exported to India. Phosphoric acid is used for fertilizers like DAP and NPK.

Muthiah claimed the project has been making profits from the first day of production and has been in operation for the last five years.

Spic's main focus has been on fertilizers, but it also has interests in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and engineering services.

Spic Dubai joint venture, Gulf Spic Contracting Company, specialises in construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and turnaround services in the oil, chemical and petrochemicals sectors.

In Kuwait, Gulf Spic has been maintaining the Mina Abdullah refinery of the Kuwait National petroleum Corporation for the last 5 years and the contract has been renewed for five more years.

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