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OCI N.V. to expand Rotterdam’s ammonia import terminal to meet growing low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia demand

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port of Rotterdam
port of Rotterdam

OCI N.V. has taken a final investment decision (FID) for the first phase of the development of its ammonia import terminal in the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The terminal is strategically located to facilitate the growing demand for ammonia for bunkering ocean-going vessels and to serve as a hub for hydrogen imported in the form of ammonia from regions with abundant natural gas and renewable resources, such as the Middle East and North Africa, in order to meet Europe’s anticipated future hydrogen deficit.

The expansion will be implemented via a phased investment strategy, with an initial increase in throughput capacity from the current c.400 ktpa to up to 1.2 million metric tons per year delivered using low-cost enhancements to OCI’s existing infrastructure. The estimated total investment cost for the first phase is less than $20 million, with completion anticipated in 2023.

For the second phase, OCI has finalized a basic engineering package for the construction of a new world-scale ammonia tank at the terminal, which, coupled with a scale-up in jetty infrastructure, will permit a potential increase in annual throughput to beyond 3 million tons. In order to swiftly boost throughput capacity as demand for clean ammonia grows in the medium term, OCI aims to initiate permitting activities this year.

Ahmed El-Hoshy, Chief Executive Officer of OCI NV, commented: “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. We are pleased to announce this milestone, enhancing a key ammonia import and future bunkering hub and aggregation point for low-carbon ammonia at a world-scale port, which will serve as an important avenue for clean ammonia imports from our global facilities and addresses current and future European hydrogen deficit needs.

This vital piece of the global value chain will provide essential ammonia to keep downstream fertilizer 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.”

The Port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe, with some 30,000 sea-going and 100,000 inland boats visiting annually. It is one of four major global bunkering ports and Europe’s largest, supplying around 11 million m3 of marine bunker fuels annually.

Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam: “OCI’s decision to invest in tripling its ammonia import capacity in Rotterdam perfectly fits our plans. Our ambition is to be a carbon neutral port in 2050. This regards not only the industry in the port area, but also shipping. Ammonia is not only a hydrogen carrier and a feedstock for the chemical industry, it’s also an important renewable fuel for the shipping sector. To be able to bunker ammonia, steps such as OCI’s need to be implemented to increase the base. 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.”

Nedim Husomanovic

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