Sulphur and sulphuric acid continue to be critical inputs for the Arab and worldwide fertilizer industries. Strong growth in supply in the last several years, particularly from oil and gas resources, was matched by demand growth, much from a revitalized fertilizer sector. Like most other commodities, sulphur has not escaped market turmoil in 2008. An analysis of sulphur supply and demand, with likely trends for the next decade, illustrates the position of this raw material and plant nutrient. Sulphur is produced predominantly in the elemental form, mostly recovered from the oil and gas industry, especially in West Asia. World sulphur consumption in the fertilizer industry was 40 million tons in 2007, which will keep growing in the coming years, especially in Africa and West Asia with the increases of phosphate fertilizer production in these regions.
Sulphur deficiency has become widespread over the past several decades in most of the agricultural areas of the world, especially in Asia and Africa, which provides a large market (estimated at about 10 million tons of sulphur annually) for the Arab and worldwide fertilizer industry. The most popular traditional sulphur fertilizers are ammonium sulphate, single superphosphate (SSP), potassium sulphate and ammonium phosphate sulphate. New elemental sulphur-containing fertilizers are now in the market to meet the increasing demand. Various new and traditional sulphur products can also used be used as soil amendments for land reclamation of salt-affected soils and calcareous soils. The market potential and agricultural uses of sulphur as a plant nutrient and soil amendment are examined in detail.