With the launch of the Qafco-6 project Qatar is now the world’s largest exporter of urea, with a 15 percent market share. In terms of production it ranks number 4 globally. Saudi Arabia contributes another 10 percent to global urea exports, underlining the Gulf’s importance in global fertilizer markets.
Qatar’s annual capacity for urea is 5.6 million MT. Last year it produced 3.6 million tonnes of ammonia and 4.3 million tonnes of urea.
With ample natural gas supplies globally in the wake of new production techniques like hydraulic fracking there is no shortage of nitrogen fertilizers for the foreseeable future. Yet countries in the Middle East may think how they can leverage competitive fertilizer production for agricultural investments as I have argued elsewhere.
This is particularly true for phosphorus, which is mainly produced from phosphate rocks without alternative production possibilities as in the case of nitrogen and natural gas. Morocco has over three quarters of global phosphate reserves after the recent upgrade of USGS estimates and Saudi Arabia will be also an important producer once the Al-Jalamid project in the North of the country is up and running in 2014.