Fertiliser Ministry seeks higher gas supply, takes up revival of 5 plants

Fertiliser Ministry seeks higher gas supply, takes up revival of 5 plantsNew Delhi: The Fertilzers Ministry has asked the Petroleum Ministry to increase the supply of gas for urea manufacturing plants and also explore the possibility of gas pipeline from Phulpur to Haldia as it can lead to revival of five closed plants.

Fertilizer Minister Ananth Kumar today held a meeting with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to discuss the number of issues including supply of gas to the urea plants, revival of urea plants and gas pipeline for supply of gas to three companies -- MCFL, MFL and SPIC.

"... Having a gas pipeline between Phulpur (Uttar Pradesh) to Haldia (West Bengal) at the cost of Rs 10,000 crore is under active consideration when we do that, then we can revive Sindri, Baroni, Haldia, Gorakhpur and Durgapur fertiliser plants," Kumar told PTI.

The Fertilizer Minister added that revival of other two urea plants at Talcher and Ramagundam are on course. Fertiliser plants are the biggest consumers of domestically produced gas, using 31.5 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd).

"We have urged the Petroleum Ministry to raise the gas limit and even in last three months we have not been supplied complete 31.5 mmscmd of gas, so we have also requested whatever is been shortfall in supply gas that should be supplied in coming days," the Minister said.

Besides, the supply of gas for three urea companies, Manglore Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd (MCFL), Madras Fertilisers Ltd (MFL) and SPIC as all there plants are presently using NAPTHA as feed stock, is also been discussed at the meeting.

"We also discussed about providing gas pipeline to three companies MCFL, MFL and SPIC," Kumar added.

The natural gas accounts for as much as 65-70 percent of urea production costs in India, and it is cost effective compared with other feedstock.

The country's urea production has remained stagnant at 22 million tonnes (MT) since 2007-08, while current demand is about 30 MT , forcing the country to meet the shortfall of 8 MT through imports.

No urea capacity has been added in India in almost 13 years. The Fertilizer Minister hopes to boost the production of domestic urea by reviving the eight sick units, including five units of Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd (FCIL) and three units of Hindustan Fertilzer Corporation Ltd (HFCL).

Earlier, Kumar had said that Talcher and Ramagundam projects would come on stream, but noted that they would need at least 36-48 months to become operational and require a combined investment of Rs. 9,000-9,500 crore.

Meanwhile, the Fertilizer Ministry is also working on setting up a joint venture between RCF and an Iranian company to take advantage of low gas prices in producing urea cheaply in Iran.

(PTI)




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