The Centre plans to double the capacity of ammonia-urea producing Brahmaputra Valley Fertiliser Corporation Limited (BVFCL), in Namrup in Upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district, in next three years, said Ananth Kumar, Union chemicals and fertilisers minister.
A revamp project of the three ageing units of BVFCL was completed some years back in a phased manner. There is also a proposal, cleared by the Centre last year, to set up a new fourth unit within the existing campus of BVFCL.
“The present 3.5 lakh MT output of BVFCL is not enough keeping in mind the demand in the market. We plan to increase the output to 7 lakh MT. The government has already taken the decision and I can assure you can see this in next three years,” said Kumar while taking part in an event where Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the Assam Gas Cracker Project, Northeast’s biggest industrial project.
The setting up of the fourth ammonia-urea unit will meet the growing demand for urea in Northeast, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand. The Cabinet, on May 21, 2015, gave its approval for setting up of a new unit of 8.64 lakh MT annual capacity with an estimated investment of Rs 4,500 crore within the existing complex of BVFCL on public private partnership (PPP) route by a joint venture (JV).
The new unit will be highly energy efficient and would be at par with international standards with latest technology. Natural gas would be its feedstock, as is the case with other three units.
The annual consumption of urea in the country is approximately 310 lakh MT, out of which 230 lakh MT is produced indigenously and rest is imported. With the upcoming fourth unit of BVFCL, India would be in a position to export urea.
The Namrup Fertilizer Complex, renamed as BVFCL after bifurcation from Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited (HFCL) in April 2002, is the first factory of its kind in India to use associated natural gas as basic raw material for producing nitrogenous fertilizer. The first unit of the project was set up in 1969, followed by two other units in 1976 and 1987 respectively.
Due to ageing plants and machineries, coupled with rise in cost of natural gas, the company has been financially bleeding of late. The output of the units had been falling steadily since 1990s. Finally the second unit had to be shut down in 1994 as the plant required critical repairs and replacements.
Finally the government revamped the three units of BVFCL at a cost of Rs. 650 crore taking its present production to 3.5 lakh MT. Projects and Development India Limited (PDIL), an agency for consultancy services, also a government of India Undertaking, was appointed as the principal contractor for consultancy for revamp of the plants.