As the energy transition continues to gain traction and demand for low-carbon fuels increases, ammonia facility operator OCI N.V (OCI) has revealed that it will expand its ammonia import terminal at the Port of Rotterdam, tripling throughput capacity.

Having entered a final investment decision on 15th June, OCI aims for the expansion to compensate for lower European ammonia production due to volatile and high gas prices. 

In addition to tripling throughput at its terminal to 1.2 million tonnes for per year by 2023, OCI intend to cater for emerging large-scale demand for low carbon as a fuel, including ammonia-fuelled vessels. 

A second phase of the project has seen the company complete a basic engineering package for the construction of a new ‘world-scale’ ammonia tank at the terminal, which will allow a potential throughput to increase to above 3m tonnes per annum. 

Commenting on the expansion, Ahmed El-Hoshy, CEO, OCI N.V, said, “We are pleased to announce this milestone, enhancing a key ammonia import and future bunkering hub and aggregation point for low-carbon ammonia at a world-scale port.” 

Following events such as the recent closure of CF Industries’ Ince fertiliser plant due to high energy costs, an ammonia import hub could help mitigate an increasingly volatile global natural gas environment.

“Ammonia is not only a hydrogen carrier and a feedstock for the chemical industry, it’s also an important renewable fuel for the shipping sector,” said Allard Castelein, CEO, Port of Rotterdam.

”As sailing on ammonia is something new, we’re working hard together with the business community and public authorities to have the regulations and safe handling procedures for ammonia bunkering operations in place in time.”