January 7, 2009 / 6:59 PM / 10 years ago

CF Industries mulls Marcona as Peru plant location

LIMA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Peruvian officials said U.S.-based fertilizer maker CF Industries (CF.N) will likely build its $1 billion petrochemical complex in Marcona, though the company said on Wednesday it is still weighing site locations.

The company, which said it aims to start construction next year, hopes to begin production at the complex in 2013.

Peru’s mining and energy minister said the company will locate its project in Marcona, a coastal area 330 miles (530 km) south of the capital, Lima.

Peru’s government is trying to persuade foreign companies to develop petrochemical plants, which turn natural gas into ammonium nitrate used to make explosives, fertilizers and ethylene for plastics.

Peru has large natural gas reserves in the mountains and is working to expand its energy industry along the coast, where a plant is being built that will liquefy natural gas for export. Currently, the only pipeline that moves gas from Peru’s southern Camisea field runs to the coast.

“We are working closely with the government to assure that the site is an appropriate one for CF Industries and the people of Peru,” said Charles Nekvasil, a company official.

He said CF Industries is considering several places.

“At this point, we have not made any specific comments other than we are working closely with government and other groups,” said Nekvasil.

Last year, CF Industries was granted an option to buy large natural gas supplies from Argentina’s Pluspetrol, which heads a consortium that extracts gas from Camisea.

CF Industries plans to build two units in Peru — an ammonia plant with a capacity of 2,100 metric tonnes per day and a granulated urea plant with a per-day capacity of 3,300 metric tonnes. (Reporting by Dana Ford; editing by Jim Marshall)

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