CAIRO: Agrium Egypt has denied press reports that the petrochemical plant it is building in the governorate of Damietta will be relocated because of strong local opposition to the project.
“This is untrue, the plant will not be relocated, Project Director at Agrium Egypt Khaled Salama told Daily News Egypt.
Al-Masry Al-Youm had reported that the government was currently studying a proposal to relocate the plant to appease the local opposition in the area. The alternative destinations being proposed were Suez or Ain Sokhna.
Salama did concede that there was strong opposition to the plant, but that this was due to a lack of awareness about the activities of the new plant.
“Many people are against it, he said, “but that is due to a lack of awareness of the safety features and technology used in building the plant and the benefit to the local community.
For this end, Salama said that the company would be distributing leaflets about the plant in the area and is organizing a series of lectures “to raise awareness about the plant in the local community and its benefits to them.
Inhabitants of the area are concerned that the plant will pollute the environment, which not only consists of residential housing, but is also the subject of a study to determine whether it be considered a protected site.
Salama said that the plant was being built by “German technology, and has more safety features than any other petrochemical plant in Egypt. It is 6 km away from any residential area and contains all the necessary safety procedures.
He added that the plant was not located in Ras El-Bar as was reported in the press, but in the area known as New Damietta.
Agrium, a Canadian company, holds a 60 percent stake in the plant. Government bodies the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company and the Egyptian Natural Gas Company own 24 percent and 9 percent respectively. The remaining 7 percent is held by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation of the Saudi Arabian government.
The plant, which is due for completion in 2010, is a nitrogen facility which should consist of two ammonia and urea trains working at a combined capacity of 1.3 million tons of urea and 100,000 tons of net ammonia.
The total construction cost was estimated at $1.2 billion. The plant is being built from scratch according to Salama.