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Anwar Hossain
With an aim to increase urea fertiliser production and minimise import costs, the government is going to establish the biggest ever fertiliser plant in the country by replacing two old factories in Narsingdi. The plant, once in operation, could save as much as Tk 22,000 crore spent to import urea from abroad.
Under the supervision of the Industries Ministry Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) will implement the project.
In this regard, BCIC has already signed an agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan and CC7 (National Chemical Engineering) of China.
The construction cost of the plant has been estimated Tk 10,000 crore of which Tk 8,600 crore will come from Japan as loan.
The plant under the name ‘Ghorasal Polash Urea Fertilizer Project (GPUFP)’ will be implemented at the place of existing two very old fertiliser factories — Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd (UFFL) and Polash Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd (PUFFL). Having a daily production capacity of around 3,000 tonnes (around 9.24 lakh tonnes per year) the plant will immensely reduce dependence on urea import.
It is worth mentioning here that the country imports around 26-30 lakh tonnes of urea from abroad each year to meet the local demand.
An official of Socio-Economic department of the Planning Commission said the construction work will begin from early next year and will be completed by 2022.
Under BCIC, six fertiliser factories of the country currently produce around 9-10 lakh tonne urea per year against the annual demand of around 26-30 lakh tonnes. From that point of view, the country has a urea deficit of around 17-20 lakh tonnes a year.
Chairman of BCIC Shah Mohammad Aminul Haque said, “Huge gas is burnt each day in these two factories. Once the new plant starts operation, it will produce huge amount of urea with less volume of gas. We can raise our production up to 3,000 tonnes daily.”
This will be the largest fertiliser plant not only in Bangladesh but also in South Asia. It will also reduce our dependence on fertilizer import to one third and will save an amount of Tk 22,000 crore, he added.
It has been learnt that the existing Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd (UFFL) and Polash Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd (PUFFL), during their beginning periods, were able to produce 5.5 lakh tonnes of fertilizer every year. But as the factories grew older, their production capacity simultaneously reduced to roughly 4 lakh tonnes.
Each day, these factories burnt 65 billion cubic metre gas which increases production cost rapidly.
Currently, Shahjalal Fertiliser Factory in Fenchuganj is the country’s biggest fertiliser factory whose production capacity is 5.81 lakh tonnes per annum.