Nigeria and Tanzania have approved plans for the construction of fertilizer production plants, now at different stages of development, as they seek private project developers to capitalize on their huge natural gas resources.

West-Africa focused consortium Brass Fertilizer Company signed a deal with Engineers India Limited in late May to provide project management services for its upcoming integrated green field gas-based fertilizer complex comprising of urea/methanol plant at Brass Island, Nigeria. The value of the consultancy contract could not be immediately confirmed.

Brass Fertilizer Company investors include a subsidiary of DSV Group, a leading Nigerian provider of innovative solutions to the local pipeline industry, Haldor Topsøe, Maj Invest, Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), Swedfund and Nigeria’s Bayelsa State Government.

“The development will support Nigeria through the monetization of gas, provision of fertilizer to the local market, and generate significant employment in Nigeria's Niger Delta region,” says Stephen Dimon, vice president for corporate and project finance at UK’s energy and infrastructure investment bank Taylor Dejongh, which has been picked as the financial advisor for the project.

Dimon says the proposed plant will produce 3,850 metric tonnes per day of urea, 5,000 MT/day of methanol and 500 million cubic feet per day of natural gas when it goes live in mid-2018. Hamburg-based independent chemicals marketing firm Helm AG has been picked as offtaker. The developers are yet to confirm the project construction commencement date.

Feedstock gas for the plant will be supplied directly from the Nigerian gas mining concession of OML 33. The concession participants include Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (55%), Shell (30%) Total (10%), Eni (5%). According to US's Energy Information Administration,  Nigeria  has estimated 182 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, consumed 224 billion cubic feet of dry natural gas in 2012, which is less than 20% of its total production.

The Nigerian fertilizer complex is expected to create 15,000 jobs during construction period and 5,000 permanent jobs after completion, according to Dimon.

In Tanzania, Calgary-based oil and gas Exploration Company Wentworth Resources, has completed a pre-feasibility study for a 1-million tonne/year methanol and ammonia/urea production plant in the natural gas rich Mnazi Bay south of the East African country.

Wentworth, which has a 41.78% working interest in the Mnazi Bay Concession, had contracted San Francisco-based Nexant to advice on the monetization of the natural gas produced from the area. Nexant proposed a methanol and ammonia/urea plant as the most appropriate.

Although the actual feasibility studies are yet to be finalized, Wentworth says the construction is likely to be completed in 40 months after breaking ground. Initially, Wentworth had projected the first quarter of 2015 as the completion date. However, that deadline has been delayed as Tanzania works on a new oil and gas policy. No new deadlines have been given. 

Meanwhile, Tanzania is also said to be studying a proposal by Germany's international projects developer and EPC service provider, Ferrostaal Industrial Projects, for the construction of a $1-billion fertilizer plant in the East African country.

Tanzania’s Daily News says that Ferrostaal has held a pre-bid meeting with Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp., a state-firm implementing government oil and gas exploration and development programmes, over the proposed project with the German firm indicating was set to submit its tender bid last April. The company did not immediately respond to an email on the progress of the planned bid.