Commercial production of urea from the state owned fertilizer unit at Talcher currently under revival is expected to commence in September 2023.
The plant formerly owned by Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd (FCIL) has halted production since March 1999. Presently, Talcher Fertilizers Ltd (TFL), a joint venture (JV) forged by GAIL India Ltd, Coal India Ltd (CIL), Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) and FCIL is reviving operations of the unit. TFL's promoters have hitherto committed Rs 8000 crore on various awarded contracts.
Chhabilendra Roul, Union secretary (fertilizers) said, “The shareholding of FCIL has been gradually reduced to 4.5 per cent from 11 per cent. Rest of the equity will be proportionately shared between the JV partners. The total expenditure on two major components of the project is Rs 8000 crore. Major contracts have been awarded in September 2019”.
The letter of intent (LoI) has been awarded to Wuhuan, a China-based firm in September 2019 for coal gasification and ammonia/urea package. Wuhuan has prepared the basic design of coal gasification package. Detailed engineering is underway. Site mobilization is expected before the end of this financial year.
The coal gasification based ammonia urea complex being set up at Talcher, 140 km from here, would have a design capacity of 2200 tonnes per day of ammonia and 3850 tonnes per day of urea. In addition, the plant will produce 100 tonne per day of sulphur flakes as a saleable by-product.
The plant will produce 2.38 million tonnes of cubic metres per day of natural gas equivalent synthesis gas from coal. This process will translate into reduced import bill of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
TFL has been allocated 50 per cent of the North Arkhapal Srirampur coal mine. Total coal consumption for the plant is pegged at 2.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). Petcoke will be sourced from Indian Oil Corporation's (IOC) grassroots crude oil refinery at Paradeep.
Overall investment on the project is envisaged at Rs 13277crore with debt equity ratio of 72:28. During construction phase, the project will generate employment for up to 10,000 people. That apart, 4000 people will get direct and indirect employment opportunities once the plant begins commercial operations.
The coal gasification project at Talcher has accomplished some key milestones. It has obtained environment clearance in February 2018 and approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for equity contribution by RCF in September 2018. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with IOC for sourcing petcoke in August 2017. Lately, the project has got the Consent to Establish on December 2, 2019.
As of now, pre-project activities are ongoing at the site. The revival of fertilizer plant at Talcher is one of the prestigious projects pursued by the Government of India along with fertilizer projects of Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Ltd (HURL) at Sindri, Barauni, Gorakhpur and Ramagundam.
The FCIL owned fertilizer plant at Talcher commenced production in 1980 before it ceased 19 years later in March 1999. The Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers closed all operations of the unit in June 2002. Though the Union Cabinet decided to revive the shut unit on August 30, 2008, it has been unduly delayed.