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Burrup is first in the field

Summary

The first of a series of projects intended to harness the natural gas reserves of the Burrup Peninsula of Western Australia is proceeding rapidly. Burrup Fertilisers has put the final pieces of the financial package in place, signing a long-term offtake agreement with Hydro Agri, whereby the Norwegian company will take the entire output of 750,000 t/a ammonia. This project is the latest venture of the enterprising Oswal Group of India in the fertilizer sector, and may be followed by more.

Abstract

On 28 February, Burrup Fertilisers Pty Ltd (BFPL) took a major step forward in its ambitious plans to develop the world’s largest ammonia plant, when the company formally signed a long-term offtake agreement with Hydro Agri in Bangkok. BFPL is being promoted by the Indian com­pany, Oswal Projects Ltd. – a subsidiary of the Oswal Group of India. The proposed 2,200 t/d ammonia plant will be constructed in the King Bay-Hearson Cove area in the Burrup Peninsula region of Western Australia, harnessing 80 TJ/day (600 billion ft3) of natural gas supplied by Apache Energy’s Harriet joint venture.

Hydro Agri first indicated its interest in the project in 2001, when it signed a Memo­randum of Agreement with BFPL for the offtake of 750,000 t/a ammonia from the proposed plant. The agreement was signed at the end of 2002. This amounts to the plant’s entire production, and in accordance with the agreement, Hydro Agri will co-ordinate all sales of BFPL ammonia worldwide, targeting the fastest-growing markets in South East Asia, India and elsewhere.

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China honours Sam Portch

Summary

Dr. Sam Portch retired at the end of last year as Vice President of PPI/PPIC China and India Program. Shortly before he stepped down, the Chinese government paid tribute to the contribution he made to the advances in Chinese agriculture during the past two decades by awarding him the prestigious Friendship Award. Sam accepted this honour with characteristic modesty, as Special Correspondent David Hayes discovered when he visited Dr. Portch shortly afterwards.

Abstract

The past three decades have witnessed a large increase in fertilizer consumption in many countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region as farmers and governments step up efforts to expand farm production to feed their growing populations and increase agricultural exports. In China, balanced fertilizer application is regarded as a matter of national importance. Official recognition of the importance of balanced fertilizer use in helping expand agricultural output through­out the country recently was acknowledged by the government’s decision to present China’s prestigious Friendship Award to Dr. Sam Portch, Vice President of the Potash & Phosphate Institute’s (PPI) and the Potash & Phosphate Institute of Canada’s (PPIC) China Program.

The Friendship Award is the highest honour awarded to foreign citizens by the Chinese government. Just 50 of the estimated 440,000 foreigners working in China receive this award each year. Dr. Portch was presented with the award by Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen and was later congratulated by Premier Zhu Rongji at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in October 2002, shortly before his retirement as Vice President and Director of the PPI-PPIC’s China and India Pro­grams. The award was made in recognition of Dr. Portch’s important role since 1988 in promoting balanced fertilizer use throughout China, helping develop China’s agricultural economy and improving farmers’ incomes and rural prosperity.

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Valagro pushes out the boundaries

Summary

Since Valagro SpA was founded in 1980 by Giuseppe Natale, the company has wholeheartedly embraced the motto, A Passion to Advance, notably in the field of speciality plant nutrition products for high-value agricultural and horticultural products. Following a series of acquisitions in the North America and Western Europe, Valagro is now well-represented throughout the world, as described here.

Abstract

In the field of speciality plant nutrition for high-value agricultural and horticultural products, Valagro SpA has carved out a distinct market role that builds a bridge between plant nutrition and plant protection. The connection between these two areas is a range of biostimulants, which has been designed to reinforce the benefits of fertilisation in the form of primary and secondary nutrients, while providing the growing plant extra protection against stress and resistance to disease.

The latest Valagro range of biostimulants is marketed under the Revitalize, RenovA and DFence brand-names, and supplements the company’s comprehensive range of speciality fertilizers and plant protection products. In devising this range, Valagro recognises that various sources are available for effective plant nutrition:

  • Coventional organic matter
  • Traditional fertilizers
  • Plant growth stimulators.

 

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Bedeschi's century of tailor-made solutions

Summary

The Italian company, Bedeschi, specialises in designing and manufacturing plant and equipment for processing, crushing, storing and reclaiming wet and sticky bulk products, including clay, phosphate rock and fertilizers. The company has been managed by members of the Bedeschi family for four generations. The range of products and engineering solutions are described here.

Abstract

The Italian company Bedeschi is almost 100 years old. It was established in 1908 in Padua, north east Italy, since when it has continuously developed its operations in two major fields:

  • Bulk solids handling for receiving, crushing, storing, blending and reclaiming many different types of materials, including fertilizers, limestone, shale, clay and slag, as well as coal, gypsum, and others.
  • Clay handling and processing for the manufacture of bricks and roofing tiles. Today, the Group comprises two companies, each providing a comprehensive range of services to customers.
  • Bedeschi: this is the main company, which manufactures different types of machinery, including primary and secondary crushers, stackers, reclaimers and ship loaders/unloaders in the main factory at Padua. The manufacturing facilities cover about 40,000 m2, 16,000 m2 of which are covered (a space which is set to double) and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
  • BCR: the engineering arm of the Group. Through this highly- qualified structure, the Group can provide all the additional services required by the market, such as general plant engineering, basic and detailed mechanical and electrical engineering for different applications, and all other functions necessary to provide turnkey services.

 

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Uralkali builds on 250 million years of history

Summary

Uralkali is a leading producer of potash fertilizers in Russia, accounting for around 12 % of world production. Exports account for around 85 % of total output at the Uralkali complex at Berezniki, and total sales generated a turnover of more than $250 million last year. Maxim Shirokov¸ Uralkali General Manager, explains the company's business philosophy.

Abstract

"We are proud that our company produces quality fertilizers. We believe that our business is important and essential in satisfying the needs of our planet’s growing population. Much has already been done to improve the quality of our products and to increase the potential for production. But we are not content to rest on our achievements and are continuing to set new goals for ourselves. Further increasing competitiveness, striving for even more stringent standards of environmental safety, securing the company’s future success – these are the tasks on which we are focusing so that we can grow and get better.” Thus Maxim Shirokov, Uralkali General Director, describes the company’s business philosophy.

Uralkali is Russia’s largest mineral fertilizer production enterprise. It is located in the Western Urals, in the town of Berezniki. The company works one of the world’s largest deposits of potassium/magnesium salts, the Verkhnekamsky deposit – a gigantic lens-shaped bed. This stretches from north to south, with a total area of 6,500 km2. The history of the deposit can be traced to 250 million years ago. During that period, the area was washed by the waves of the ancient Permian Sea, which, when it receded, left behind dry land and salt bays. Once the water had evaporated, salt beds were formed, and it is one of these beds that is now being worked by Uralkali.

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COMPO – a K+S success story

Summary

The German potash producer, K+S has broadened its portfolio substantially through the acquisition of the COMPO and fertiva subsidiaries. These new operations have taken K+S into new fields of business, and it is heartening to note that they have been highly profitable. In the case of COMPO, innovation lies at the heart of the company's success, and a new range of ammonium-stabilised fertilizers as well as controlled-release fertilizers offer excellent prospects.

Abstract

Since it came into the K+S fold in 1999, along with fertiva, COMPO has made a strong contribution to the German group’s sales and profitability. In 2002, COMPO enjoyed revenues of Eruo 481.0 million – an increase of 10 % on the 2001 total of Euro 436.2 million, and accounting for 21% of total K+S revenues of Euro 2.2 billion. The past year was also a healthy one for profits, as COMPO posted pre-tax earnings of Euro 30.8 million, compared with Euro 19.7 million in the previous year – a most impressive increase of 56 %.

COMPO is based in Münster, Germany, and is a leading supplier of branded speciality fertilizers and potting soils, with subsidiaries in the major European countries and South American markets and a worldwide distribution network via selected partners. COMPO serves hobby gardeners in the consumer market as well as professional users in agriculture, horticulture and the amenity business. COMPO’s professional product portfolio ranges from potassium sulphate-based complex NPK fertilizers (Nitro­phoska ®) and ammonium-stabilised fertilizers (ENTEC ®) for field crops, horticulture and high-added value special crops, IBDU ®-based slow-release fertilizers (Floranid ®) for high-quality sports turf, such as golf courses, sports fields and public green spaces, as well as controlled-release fertilizers (such as Basacote ®) for container-grown trees and ornamentals in nurseries and horticulture – a particularly demanding sector. For hobby gardeners, COMPO offers a wide range of branded products, including potting soils, plant care products, lawn and garden fertilizers, and pesticides under a variety of strong international brands, such as COMPO, Algoflash, SEM, Gesal and Gardiflor.

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IMC Global embraces Six Sigma

Summary

In common with many other US blue-chip companies, IMC Global has embraced the concept of Six Sigma. This concept involves streamlining the company's internal procedures with the goal of orienting them entirely towards fulfilling the needs of customers for top-quality products and service. The to date results have been impressive...

Abstract

The management of IMC Global has recognised that the globalisation of its primary markets and the ready access to information, products and services have changed the way its customers conduct business. The old business models no longer work, and as IMC operates in an ever more competitive environment, there is little room for error. Responding to these acute competitive challenges led IMC to embrace the Six Sigma concept of continuous improvement focused on delivering outstanding customer service. Six Sigma was a particularly apposite business model to follow, as it has been attributed to the transformation of General Electric into an organisation that is not only supremely successful financially, but which also enjoys considerable esteem among the widest spectrum of US business leaders.

When Douglas A. Pertz became IMC Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer in 1999, he was aware that the company had long been recognised in the global agricultural and food industries for its commitment to “feed the land that feeds the world”. Its brand-name had become synonymous with good product quality, process and technological innovation and a culture of continuous improvement. However, IMC – in common with other leading fertilizer producers – remained vulnerable to the highly cyclical commodity fertilizer markets, and coping with the vagaries of these markets occupied a considerable share of managerial attention. There were other key goals to pursue, and there was room to achieve more.

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Foskor's challenging acid expansion project

Summary

This description of the project to expand capacity of the Foskor dihydrate phosphoric acid production complex at Richards Bay, South Africa, is based on the paper by Kobus Kirsten (Foskor Limited), Jan Tytgat (SNC-Lavalin Europe) and Tibaut Theys (Prayon) which was presented at the IFA Technical Conference in Chennai, India in September 2002, and the AFA Technical Conference in Damascus, Syria in April 2003.

Abstract

In 1999, Indian Ocean Fertilizer (IOF), now called Foskor Limited, and Sulphos signed an EPCM (Engineering, Pro­cure­ment and Construction Management) contract for all the services related to the construction and expansion of the Foskor phosphoric acid production complex at Richards Bay, South Africa. The project was commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2002 and has provided Foskor with an additional production capacity of 330,000 t/a P2O5 of merchant grade phosphoric acid. The work undertaken included:

  • A new dihydrate phosphoric acid plant with a capacity of 1,100 t/d P2O5, based on the Prayon Mark IV process.
  • A new sulphuric acid plant with a capacity of 3,000 t/d H2SO4 based on the double absorption Monsanto Enviro-Chem process.
  • Increased export acid storage facilities.
  • Power generation and all required ­utilities.

Integrating all the new facilities into an existing complex was a real challenge. In addition to meeting the owner’s requirements of merchant grade acid at 54 % P2O5, low temperature (max 45° C) and a low solids content (max 0.6 w%), the project had to be executed and constructed within very restricted space constraints.

The project had to comply with strict environmental and safety standards. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) formed the base to which environmental compliance would be measured, especially with EFMA regulations regarding fluorine emissions. To comply with OSHA and “acceptable operational and safety practices,” a HAZOP study was performed.

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