UPDATE 1-Morocco's OCP aims to boost fertiliser output despite lack of Russian ammonia

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RABAT, March 16 (Reuters) - One of the world’s biggest fertiliser companies, Morocco’s OCP, aims to raise output by more than 10% this year to meet higher demand, despite the loss of Russian ammonia from its supply chain, a senior company official told Reuters.

The state-controlled company aims to increase production to 11.9 million tonnes in 2022 from 10.8 million tonnes last year and to add another 3 million tonnes of annual output capacity in 2023, Nada Elmajdoub, executive vice president performance management, at OCP said.

The firm sees added demand for its products in 2022 coming from India, the Americas and Africa, she said.

OCP’s planned expansion coincides with uncertainties in the fertilisers market after Russia’s exports of soil nutrients were halted because of sanctions and the war in Ukraine.

OCP annually imports some 1.8 million tonnes of ammonia, a soil nutrient, from suppliers including Russia and Ukraine.

Elmajdoub said OCP managed to replace volumes needed for the next few months from other suppliers around the world and that it was able to switch its production to use other raw materials with lower nitrogen levels.

“On ammonia sourcing in particular, thanks to our strong network of suppliers globally, we’ve been working on building alternative supply,” she said.

The company has enough storage capacity and import facilities for large vessels to help it flexibly manage supply constraints, she added.

It aims to start importing ammonia from U.S. producers next year under a long-term supply deal and expects to start ammonia output at a plant in Nigeria in 2025, built as part of an investment push into African countries, she said.

“OCP’s product mix is predominantly phosphate-based. But we will continue to deploy our sourcing to offer compound fertilisers,” she said of efforts to tackle possible global disruption of the supply of soil nutrients. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, editing by Angus McDowall, Elaine Hardcastle and Barbara Lewis)