MCF switches over to LNG as feedstock to produce urea

MCF Director (Production) Prabhakar Rao speaking at a press conference in Mangaluru on Wednesday.  

Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers (MCF) Ltd., State’s only chemical fertilizer manufacturer, recorded a milestone on Tuesday after it completely switched over to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as feedstock to produce urea, instead of naphtha.

MCF has an installed capacity to produce 3.75 lakh tonnes of urea using naphtha as feedstock.

Besides, it produces about 3 lakh tonnes of DAP and other agricultural inputs. It was using naphtha as feedstock since its inception in 1976.

MCF Director (Production) Prabhakar Rao told reporters here on Wednesday that the company entered into an agreement with GAIL India way back in 2011 to avail of LNG through a pipeline.

The Government of India in 2017 mandated all urea production units in the country to switch over to LNG from naphtha to save on energy as well as foreign exchange. However, MCF could not do so as the GAIL pipeline between Kochi and Mangaluru was (then) yet to be completed.

After GAIL completed the pipeline work, MCF received LNG for the first time on November 23 this year and began trial production on December 12, Mr. Rao said.

Besides being energy efficient, the use of LNG as feedstock for urea was also environment-friendly, he said.

While MCF could produce a maximum of 3.75 lakh tonnes of urea a year using naphtha, production could go up to 4.3 lakh tonnes using LNG as feedstock, Mr. Rao said. The Union Ministry of Petroleum regulates LNG prices and it has kept the price uniform across the country.

MCF’s Chief Financial Officer T.M. Muralidharan said that switching over to LNG also reduces the subsidy burden on the Union government.

In the last five years, the government was paying ₹ 15,000 to ₹ 20,000 subsidy per tonne of urea produced using naphtha to production units across the country. With LNG, the subsidy amount would be at the lowest, ₹ 15,000 per tonne, he said.

Mr. Rao said that a project to improve the efficiency of the plant at an estimated cost of ₹ 400 crore was under way and it would be completed in one-and-a-half years. The company had spent ₹ 315 crore in 2014 itself to equip the plant for LNG usage.

MCF requires 0.85 million standard cubic metres of per day (MSCMD) LNG to produce 13,000 tonnes of urea, Mr. Rao added.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 5:53:01 AM |

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