Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1297, (26 May - 1 June 2016)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1297, (26 May - 1 June 2016)

Ahram Weekly

MOPCO plant opens

Al-Ahram Weekly

PRESIDENT Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated the $1.96 billion Misr Fertilisers Production Company (MOPCO) plant in Damietta on Sunday, following a capacity upgrade. The plant now has a production capacity of two million tons of urea and 120,000 tons of ammonia on three production lines, compared to its original single line with a capacity of 650,000 tons of urea. The plant will export 60 per cent of its output.

When first announced in 2008, the project stirred criticisms and triggered demonstrations in the Damietta governorate. There were fears that emissions from the plant, then co-owned by Canadian fertiliser group Agrium and the state-owned chemicals company Echem, would be harmful to the health of residents and could damage the marine ecosystem.

The troubles escalated, and construction of the plant was halted. A parliamentary committee later found that the level of emissions was compliant with Egyptian environmental regulations, but recommended relocating the plant, causing the Canadian company to seek international arbitration.

The situation improved when MOPCO offered a share-swap deal that increased Egyptian ownership of the project to around 70 per cent. Agrium continued to hold 26 per cent, and the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) held the remaining stake. The project was then relocated 500 metres from its original location, ending the protests.

On Monday, the Al-Shorouk daily quoted Environmental Affairs Minister Khaled Fahmy as saying that the environmental impacts of the project have been fully assessed and the ministry’s requirements fully met by MOPCO.

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