The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani yesterday formally inaugurated a 60,000-tons-per-year plant of the Qatar Melamine Company (QMC) in Mesaieed.
The melamine facility is the largest in the Middle East and the second largest in the world with a capacity to supply five percent of the world’s demand. The melamine project, built at a total cost of $350m, will use QAFCO’s high-quality urea as a feedstock.
As part of the melamine project, the existing Urea-1 plant has already been revamped using technology from Urea Casale of Switzerland to provide the melamine plant with the required urea. The cost of this project is about $95m, including $40m spent on meeting environmental commitments made to the Ministry of Environment.
The inauguration of the Qatar Melamine Company (QMC) marks the debut of a new potentially beneficial industry in Qatar that will enable the country to avail itself of the comparative advantage it enjoys in terms of abundance of feedstock and competitive energy supplies.
This new industry represents a unique and genuine addition to Qatar’s cluster of economic activities. QMC is an initiative by Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO) to further support Qatar’s industrial diversification strategy.
The Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry,
H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, described the inauguration of the QMC plant as an important addition to the industrial sector in Qatar and a step forward in achieving the goals of Qatar’s long-term strategy for optimal utilisation of Qatar’s resources and diversification of its economy. “Part of QAFCO’s long-term strategy has been to build an over-capacity of high-quality urea to eventually provide feedstock for Qatar Melamine Company. This, combined with efficient energy and QAFCO’s direct control over Qatar Melamine Company, will generate tremendous value for Qatar’s exports as a whole. In addition, it is a matter of national pride that Qatar Melamine Company is now the largest single producer of melamine in the region,” he said.
He added that Qatar Melamine Company added yet another unique venture to Qatar’s export portfolio. “Qatar Melamine Company will prove to be a valuable part of Qatar’s industrial sector for many decades to come,” he said.
In a statement recorded for the occasion, QAFCO Chairman Abdullah Hussein Salatt said: “The foundation stone for the melamine plant was laid in April 2008, with the engineering, procurement and construction contract (EPC) going to the Italian firm Eurotecnica which has integrated its proprietary high-pressure melamine process into the plant for maximum operational efficiency. The Swiss firm Urea Casale revamped the Urea-1 train and for melamine integration within the QAFCO complex with provision for future capacity build-up.”
He added that the melamine plant integrates seamlessly with QAFCO’s urea production facilities, resulting in tremendous cost-efficiency through economies of scale.
QAFCO Managing Director Khalifa Abdullah Al Sowaidi said: “Qatar Melamine Company’s capacity of 60,000 tonnes per year makes it the largest melamine facility in the Middle East, and the second largest in the world. Right now, we are capable of supplying 5 percent of the entire world’s melamine demand. And by utilising QAFCO’s excess urea supply, our costs have been controlled very efficiently, allowing Qatar Melamine Company to provide excellent return-on-investment for Qatar.”
Elaborating on the importance of the melamine plant and its role in supporting the economy, Al Sowaidi said the production of melamine will help the development of downstream industries, wherein the melamine produced can be consumed and put to use locally as well as exported throughout the region. This will reinforce the gross domestic product (GDP) and contribute to advancing Qatar economy.
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