Abu Zaabal Company for Specialty Chemicals (AZC) was founded in 1950 originally to produce propellants and explosives. In 1954 production started with single and double base propellants as well as TNT for small arms and artillery ammunition. In 1959 production of industrial explosives was introduced to satisfy the needs for mining quarries , seismic explosives for oil exploration , and major national development projects. A major achievement in this field was the Aswan High Dam project, which consumed 12.000 tons of dynamites , totally supplied by AZC.
This facility should not be confused with the Abu Zaabal Industrial Prison, or with the Abu-Zaabal Fertiliser and Chemical Company [located in Abu-Zaabal-Kaliobia in Kaliobia Governnorate] which contributes to the output of the Egyptian chemical industry through the production of fertilisers, specialising in the production of phosphate chemicals with phosphoric acid, single superphosphate and triple superphosphate being the prime outputs. This fertilizer plant, which is unrelated to Factory 18, is a subsidiary of the Mining and Refractories Company joint stock holding company.
The Abu Zaabal Company for Specialized Chemicals (Factory 18) is reportedly the main Egyptian chemical weapons manufacturing plant. This plant, designated TA"AS 801, receives assistance from neighboring plants that produce pest control materials.