India to reopen seven mothballed fert plants

31 October 2008 16:21  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW DELHI (ICIS news)--India’s cabinet has approved the restart of a mothballed ammonia-urea plant in Barauni, in Bihar state, and has laid out plans to revive six other mothballed public-sector fertilizer plants, according to a government announcement on Friday.

The announcement did not disclose the cost and timeframe of restarting the naphtha and fuel oil-based plants, which use gas as a feedstock.

The Indian cabinet also approved the establishment of a committee of secretaries, chaired by the country’s fertilizers secretary, to look into the financial dimensions of reviving of the mothballed plants.

All plants considered to be non-viable were shut down in 2002.

An industry source said the move was the result of a political deal within the ruling alliance ahead of elections in the lower house of India’s parliament.

The source likened the restarts to setting up new ammonia and urea plants at brownfield sites, which offer the advantage of infrastructure in terms of land, utilities and staff housing. 

The Barauni plant would be revived through a joint venture of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited (RCF), Krishak Bharati Cooperative (Kribhco) and National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), according to the government announcement.

The loss-incurring Hindustan Fertilizers Corp (HFC) owns the Barauni plant, as well as naphtha-based plants at Durgapur and Haldia, in West Bengal state.

The Fertilizer Corp of India (FCI) had mothballed its coal-based plants at Talcher, in Orrisa state, and at Ramagundam, in Andhra Pradesh state, as well as a naphtha-based plant at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and a fuel oil-based plant at Sindri, in Jharkhand.

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By: Naresh Minocha
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