Acron Group, a leading mineral fertiliser producer in Russia and globally, launched preparations for a large-scale overhaul of four urea units at its Novgorod-based facility at a total cost of USD 92 million.
With completion scheduled for 2024, the project will increase the total capacity of urea units 1-4 by 55%, from 2,000 tpd to 3,100 tpd, boosting annual output by 390,000 tonnes.
Stamicarbon (Netherlands), a global leader in the development and licensing of urea production technologies, is the basic design and technology licensor. The investment project will also include installing a new urea synthesis shop using advanced production technologies and state-of-the-art equipment.
Chairman of Acron’s Board of Directors Alexander Popov commented on the project:
‘Acron’s efforts to create and expand capacity are in line with the ESG strategy, which is aimed at conserving natural resources and increasing equipment efficiency. In addition to improved technology, our efforts include environmental protection and environmental safety enhancement. Urea production involves the use of carbon dioxide, and the project will reduce direct CO2 emissions by 270,000 tpa.
‘Soaring food prices propel farmers all over the world to purchase and store mineral fertilisers, which raises global prices for our products. This trend helps Russian fertiliser companies to reduce their debt burden and schedule the start of a new investment cycle. The additional cash flow strengthens producers’ balance sheets and serves as a source of investment programme funding. Given that the climate agenda and green investments aimed at reducing CO2 emissions are major risks for the market positions of all Russian industrial companies, it is essential to maintain the current global pricing environment as long as possible, since the green transition can only be accomplished using domestic sources of financing’.
Today, the Acron facility in Veliky Novgorod has six urea units in operation. The first four units, with a total design capacity of 360,000 tpa, were put on stream in 1969-1972 and subsequently upgraded to 730,000 tpa. In 2012, the Company commissioned the 350,000-tpa urea-5 unit, which was later upgraded to 515,000 tpa. The Urea-6 unit, with a capacity of 210,000 tpa, was put into operation at the end of 2018. The Company is currently completing its Urea-6+ project, which will increase the unit’s capacity to 730,000 tpa. Once all these upgrades are complete, the Group’s Novgorod-based facility will be able to produce over 2.3 million tonnes of urea annually, making Acron the largest urea facility in Europe.