Out of coal stock, NFL switches to natural gas for urea production

Out of coal stock, NFL switches to natural gas for urea production

Sukhmeet Bhasin
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, November 10

With coal stock exhausted, National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) switched to alternative fuel natural gas, which not only helped them continue urea production in its plants across the state, but also ensured supply of fertilisers to farmers even during the ongoing “rail roko” stir.

NFL executives had swung into action as stopping the plants during the rabi season would have caused shortage of urea. It was decided to switch to an alternative fuel in the boilers, which was otherwise a costly affair.

Ensuring regular supply to farmers

  • NFL produces around 10 lakh MT urea (5,200 MT/day) in its both Bathinda and Nangal plants
  • Each plant requires one rail rake (of 42 bogies) everyalternate day to dispatch urea to respective locations
  • Due to the ‘rail roko’ agitation, NFL has deployed additional trucks to ensure sustained supply of urea to farmers

The company also made arrangements to pick coal from its nearby Panipat unit as a temporary arrangement, as movement of trains in Haryana was operating normally. But this resulted in huge transportation costs to the company. With these collective actions, the company was able to manage sustained running of plants in the state under the crisis.

The NFL’s production operations were initially affected due to non-supply of coal. Both the plants require around 2,000 MT coal every day and the supply of the same remained stuck in the state since October 1 after the halt of rail movement. With each passing day, the coal stocks were depleting in plants.

The rail dispatch of urea from Nangal and Bathinda plants was also affected due to halt of movement of goods trains in the state due to “rail roko” agitation.

More than 80 per cent of the 5,200 MT urea produced daily from Nangal and Bathinda plants is normally dispatched to fields through railway wagons. Rest of the quantity (20 per cent) is sent through trucks to nearby areas in Punjab and neighbouring Himachal and J&K.

Due to the non-receipt of railway wagons after the agitation, the urea stock in these plants started piling up, taking the silo stock to the brim.

To handle this situation, the company deployed additional trucks for transportation of urea. Mayank Sharma, an officer at NFL Bathinda, said: “With these efforts, the company not only maintained sustained production of urea, but also ensured timely supply of fertilisers to farmers.”

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