| GARABOGAZ, Turkmenistan
GARABOGAZ, Turkmenistan Aug 18 Japan's
Mitsubishi Corp. and Turkey's Gap Insaat on Monday laid
the foundation of a $1.3 billion plant to produce carbamide in
Turkmenistan, which plans to gain added value by using its
natural gas to produce the fertiliser for export.
Turkmenistan holds the world's fourth-largest reserves of
natural gas. Its economy has grown by more than 10 percent a
year in recent years, owing largely to rising gas exports to
China via a pipeline built in late 2009.
But the government of the Central Asian country has also
invested billions of dollars in projects to develop other
sources of exports.
Under this programme, the new plant will process natural gas
to produce annually 1.1 million tonnes of the fertilizer
carbamide, which is also known as urea, for a global market.
"The plant is entirely designed for exports. Carbamide
delivered from here will be loaded onto ships and then sent to
overseas nations," Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov
said at a lavish ground-breaking ceremony in a desert area some
800 km (500 miles) west of the capital Ashgabat.
The plant, which will employ 1,000 workers, will be built
near the Garabogaz Bay in the Caspian Sea. The fertiliser will
be shipped mainly to markets in Europe and the Far East, local
government officials have said.
The $1.3 billion cost of the project will be 85 percent
financed by a loan from Japan Bank for International Cooperation
and the rest by the Turkmen government.
Also under the diversification plan, Berdymukhamedov in June
concluded two large-scale agreements with South Korea's LG
International Corp and Hyundai Engineering
to build two plants worth a total of $4 billion to
process gas into other products.
One plant will produce 600,000 tonnes of liquid fuels per
year, and the other will produce 290,000 tonnes of polyvinyl
chloride and 190,000 tonnes of hydrate of sodium a year, a
government official said at the time.
(Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Jane Baird)