The Ghorashal-Palash urea factory will slash urea import costs after it starts operation and conserve approximately Tk7,000 in foreign exchange annually, Industries Ministry Secretary Zakia Sultana said on Thursday (9 November).
Bangladesh has an annual urea demand of 26 lakh tonnes. Currently, local factories produce about 10 lakh tonnes, and the rest is imported to meet demand, she said at a press conference at the ministry to mark the upcoming inauguration of the Ghorashal factory.
The secretary said, "Once the Ghorashal-Palash plant begins commercial operations, annual fertiliser production will increase by 9.24 lakh tonnes. This will save the country approximately Tk7,000 crore in foreign exchange annually, which is currently spent on importing fertilisers from abroad."
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the plant on 12 November.
Upon commencement, the plant will be able to produce 2,800 tonnes of granular urea fertiliser a day (annually 9,24,000 tonnes).
Zakia Sultana said commercial production at the Ghorashal plant will not begin immediately after the inauguration. Instead, a trial production period of at least one month will be required. During this time, the plant will operate at 90%, 95%, and 100% of its capacity for 10 days. If there are no problems during this period, commercial production will start.
The Ghorashal fertiliser plant, which will be the new biggest urea producer, was constructed in Palash upazila of Narsingdi for Tk15,500 crore to boost local urea production and reduce import dependency and costs. Of the total project cost, Tk10,920 crore crore is foreign debt, which will be repaid for 10 years.
Due to the ongoing gas crisis in Bangladesh, the government was forced to shut down the Jamuna Fertilizer Company Limited in September to supply gas to the Ghorashal Palash Urea Refinery for its initial operations. The Ghorashal plant requires 72 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day to operate at full capacity.
Zakia said the Ghorashal-Palash plant is a fuel-efficient and eco-friendly facility. The new, state-of-the-art plant, which is the largest urea manufacturing plant in South Asia, has been constructed by merging two older plants at Palash and Ghorashal.
She added that the new plant will produce more urea than the previous two plants using the same amount of gas, which will save a significant amount of foreign exchange and contribute to the country's food security