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INDORAMA to build $1.8bn Fertilizer plants in Port Harcourt

16 May 2011
Sunday Okobi

Indorama Corporation, the core investors in Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (EPCL) has completed arrangements to build world-class fertiliser and methanol plants worth over 1.8 Billion US dollars (N275 Million) in their sprawling complex in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The plants are expected to commence production in 2014-2015.

Chairman of Indorama Group, Mr. S. P Lohia, broke the news to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Allison-Madueke when he paid a courtesy visit to the President in Abuja yesterday, THISDAY has learnt.

The Managing Director of Indorama-EPCL, Mr. Manish Mundra confirmed the development; and added that the projects would help the company to achieve its vision of building Africa's largest petrochemicals hub in Nigeria. He said the company will announce the project formally. Our sources however revealed that the company has completed preliminary plans on the project, which is expected to deliver over one million metric tons of ammonia and urea fertilizers annually.

"This is going to be one of the biggest Urea complex in Africa", the source said.

Industry players are said to be excited about the development, as the Indorama initiative is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs and produce fertilizers to boost the nation's agricultural and industrial sectors.

Currently, much of the nation's fertilizer needs are imported.

In 2006, Indorama Group invested 400 Million US dollars to acquire and resuscitate the comatose Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited, which was a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Within three months, it concluded extensive turn-around maintenance (TAM) of the plants and commenced production of polyethylene and polypropylene, which had hitherto been imported into the country by manufacturers of plastics products.

The company's second TAM was done in February 2010. Today the company is producing at more than 100% capacity and meeting the needs of the local plastics industry, which uses the petrochemicals products as raw materials. The company's surplus production is channeled into exports. Last year, Indorama-EPCL won the Presidential Award for Exports, organized by the Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC).

When contacted, Mr. Jossy Nkwocha, special adviser to the Managing Director and head of Corporate Communications of the company said: "In the past five years, Indorama-EPCL has contributed immensely to the economy of Nigeria in various ways. Our company has created employment opportunities (both direct and indirect) for many Nigerians, especially those from the Niger Delta region and the host communities in particular. Indeed, currently, the company has a total of 650 Nigerian employees and more than 600 others employed by contractors working for the company"

According to him, EPCL has paid more than N11 billion to the Government in taxes such as value added tax (VAT), Customs duty, with-holding taxes, and pay-as-you earn (PAYEE); and has also paid to date a dividend of over N23 billion to its shareholders including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Rivers State Government, and the Bureau pf Public Enterprises (BPE), which holds shares on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Nkwocha added that EPCL under Indorama has helped Nigeria to save more than One billion US dollars in foreign exchange through import substitution; and has turned Nigeria into a net exporter of petrochemicals products; and has indeed achieved 10% of Nigeria's total non-oil exports.

He said that EPCL has carried out various corporate social responsibility initiatives to enhance the living standards of people in the communities where it operates; and will continue to play important roles in developing the economy of the country and the communities. He insists that EPCL under Indorama has remained the best success story of privatisation in Nigeria.