Privately owned Egyptian firm Carbon Holdings expects to begin production in 2014 at its 1.1 million tonne-a-year (t/y) ammonium nitrate plant at Suez. The facility will be the first to produce the chemical in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

The project, incorporated as Egypt Hydrocarbon Corporation (EHC), is expected to begin production of ammonium nitrate in the next six months, Karim Helal, managing director of corporate finance at Carbon Holdings, told delegates at MEED’s Mena Petrochemicals 2014 conference in Dubai on 24 March.

The estimated $600m plant will deploy technology licensed from Germany’s Uhde, which is also the plant’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. Feedstock will be supplied by the US-based Transammonia along with the product offtake.

Carbon Holdings is also seeking financing for its planned $4.8bn naphtha cracker and integrated olefins complex, known as Tahrir Petrochemicals.

“We are in advanced negotiations with ECAs [export credit agencies], principally the US Export-Import Bank and Kexim [Export-Import Bank of Korea],” said Helal. “We will go to market to top up equity too.”

The Tahrir petrochemicals scheme is intended to be the world’s largest naphtha liquid cracker, with a capacity of 3.5 million t/y. It will produce 1.4 million t/y of polyethylene, as well as 600,000 t/y of propylene, 210,000 t/y of butadiene and 420,000 of benzene.

Carbon Holdings hopes to close financing in 2014 and break ground on construction by the middle of 2015. Project completion is expected for 2019.