March 26, 2015 / 2:33 PM / 4 years ago

Saudi's SAFCO says new urea plant start-up delayed till May

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, March 26 (Reuters) - The start-up of a new urea plant owned by Saudi Arabia Fertilizers Co (SAFCO) will be delayed to mid-May this year, the company said on Thursday.

SAFCO did not give a reason for the delay of the facility known as SAFCO 5, but the firm — a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) — said it will not increase the plant’s costs.

An industry source told Reuters the delay could be due to a non-availability of feedstock to supply both the plant and utilities or that tanks to store the urea were not ready.

The plant, which has an annual production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes of urea, was originally scheduled to start up in the third quarter of 2014 but was delayed due to construction work falling behind the original timetable.

In December, SAFCO said it had completed mechanical and construction work at the plant in Jubail and it would start trial operations lasting around three months to ensure the project could begin commercial production.

Testing of a petrochemicals plant usually takes three months to finish. (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine; Editing by David French)

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