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KUWAIT - PIC's Operations.

Established in 1961, PIC was then partly owned by the private sector. In 1980 it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of KPC, with private holdings bought by the state in the 1970s. PIC operates Kuwait's only fertiliser complex in Shuaiba, where the first plant was commissioned in 1966. A second plant started up in 1971-72. In the 1980s, the complex was expanded and upgraded.

The fertiliser complex was badly damaged during the 1991 Gulf war. Repair work was completed in late 1993, restoring its original capacity of 3,000 t/day of ammonia and 2,400 t/d of urea. PIC now produces 515,000 t/y of ammonia, mainly used in the production of 730,000 t/y of urea.

The first plant was a JV set up in 1964 between PIC (60%), BP (20%) and Gulf Oil Corp. of the US (20%) - BP and Gulf then were Kuwait's oil concessionaires together owning Kuwait Oil Co. (KOC). The JV was called Kuwait Chemical Fertiliser Co. (KCFC) and was to build a nitrogenous fertiliser plant in Shuaiba. Plant A was completed in 1966 and consisted of units for the production of 550 t/d of urea, sulphuric acid, ammonia and ammonium sulfate.

Plant B came on stream in 1971-72 and consisted of (a) two urea units with a combined capacity of 640 t/d, which started up in September 1971; and (b) two ammonia units with a capacity totalling 800 t/d, which entered into production in July 1971 and March 1972 respectively.

In March 1973 PIC bought the holdings of BP and Gulf Oil. PIC and KCFC were subsequently merged. In 1976 the state bought the remaining 5.62% of PIC equity still in private hands, shortly after it had acquired 100% control of KOC and KNPC. KPC was created in 1980 as part of a restructuring of the entire hydrocarbon sector; and all three companies became wholly-owned KPC subsidiaries.

The production capacity of plant A was increased in 1977 from 550 t/d to 950 t/d of urea. In 1979 it was decided to build a third plant with a capacity of 580 t/d urea and 1,000 t/d of ammonia, which came on stream in 1982.

Another ammonia unit started up at end-1984 to replace the first one. Kuwait then had total nitrogenous fertiliser capacity of 1m t/y of ammonia and 792,000 t/y of urea. In 1987 the Shuaiba complex started producing 10:6:6 compound fertilisers, consisting of 10% nitrogen, 6% phosphate and 6% potassium.

The complex was upgraded in 1988/89 with the completion of several debottlenecking operations designed to reduce energy consumption and raise production capacity. Two new urea reactors were installed in 1987-88. A unit for recovering waste hydrogen from flue gases given off by the three ammonia trains was added in 1988.

For years, most of the complex's urea output has been exported to China and to other Far Eastern countries, including Japan and the Philippines. Most of PIC's ammonia exports go to India, South Korea, Taiwan, Jordan, Tunisia, Turkey, Spain and Greece.

The urea plant was expanded to 1,750 t/d in late 2001 by Tecnimont under a contract worth over $70m awarded in late 1999. The process provider was Stamicarbon of the Netherlands and Hydro Agri (a unit of Norsk Hydro) of Norway - the latter being the technology licensor.

A 1,500 t/d urea granulation plant has been built at the Shuaiba fertiliser complex by a partnership of Tecnimont and the local Kharafi National. This went on stream in 2003.

PIC has also had the Ammonia II plant revamped and expanded to 880 t/d. PIC's other units include a 2,000 t/d methanol plant.

PIC has three salt and chlorine complexes, two at Shuaiba and one in Shuwaikh. The latter was expanded in 1984, when additional units came on stream. PIC brought a third plant on stream in Shuaiba in 1986 with a capacity of 57 t/d of chlorine, 84 t/d of caustic soda and 150 t/d of salt. That raised PIC's capacity to 160 t/d of chlorine, about 350 t/d of salt and 200 t/d of caustic soda.
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Date:Jun 6, 2005
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