Front-end engineering and design (FEED) work is due to be completed by December for the proposed melamine plant at Ruwais. Estimated to cost $160 million, the proposed plant will have capacity of 80,000 tonnes a year (t/y – MEED 6:5:05).

The project is being handled by a new joint venture company, which is 60 per cent owned by Ruwais Fertiliser Industries (Fertil). The remaining 40 per cent shares are held by Austria’s AMI Agrolinz Melamine International.

Details of the proposed venture were first announced in May after Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC)acquired a 50 per cent stake in AMI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Austria’s OMV. IPIC already holds a 17.5 per cent stake in the Austrian oil and gas company.

The next stage in the project implementation will be the issue of a tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, which is due in early 2006. The plant will be built beside the existing Fertil complex, which will supply urea feedstock to the new unit.

In August, Fertil awarded to Australia’s WorleyParsonsthe project management consultancy (PMC) contract covering the FEED phase on its planned urea debottlenecking project. The scheme will involve the installation of a 350-tonne-a-day carbon dioxide unit and a major granulation unit.

Plans to build a melamine complex at Ruwais have been on the drawing board for several years. In August 2003, France’s Totaland Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the two existing shareholders in Fertil, signed a memorandum of understanding to build a 50,000-t/y plant.