These schemes were planned in response to impressive consumption growth during 2005-2008, which resulted in a widening supply-demand imbalance.

Although the financial crisis has impacted on the usage of certain types of fertilisers, as well as delaying the execution of some projects, overall consumption has proven resilient and the business case for investing in the sector remains strong. In the short-term, global demand is forecast to rise almost 17 per cent from 160 million tonnes in 2008 to 187 million tonnes in 2013. In the long-term, population growth and increasing biofuels production will ensure fertiliser demand continues to grow. South East Asia is by far the largest consuming region in the world, but North America, Europe and Latin America also have huge requirements.

Middle East producers are positioning themselves to take a much larger share of the market. Investment in modern efficient facilities based on access to low-cost energy supplies and a geographic position that facilitates exports around the world make it likely they will succeed.