The Minister of Energy, Sebastian Burduja, said on Thursday, following the visit to Azomureş, that the management team of the company decided to restart the Ammonia III facility and resume the production of NPK complex fertilizers, Ammonium Nitrate and Nitrolime, at about 55% of capacity.
“This is the third meeting I have had in three months since taking over the mandate with the team from Azomureş and, of course, every time I have asked ‘when do you let go’. And I am very glad that today the Azomureş team announced the restart of this strategic combination for the country. I know that the market conditions are not easy, I know that the Azomureş management team also takes risks, even more so in a complicated economic context, with fiscal-budgetary reforms, even more so before the coming of winter, when, in general, gas prices rise, especially towards the end of the cold season, in February, for example. And I appreciate very much that Azomureş responded to this call that the Romanian Government made repeatedly, the local authorities, to restart the activity of the unit,” said Minister Sebastian Burduja, in a press conference held in Târgu Mureş.
The Minister of Energy specified that the installations on the platform will be restarted at a capacity of about 50-55% and that thus an important source of supply of fertilizers for Romanian farmers will be ensured.
“I believe that it is not normal that with the capacity and potential that Romania has in the agricultural sector to import products from Egypt, Algeria, Uzbekistan and other markets. When we have gas, we have agricultural potential and we have chemical plants, among which Azomureş is certainly like a pearl in the crown. Once again I want to congratulate you for the commitment you have shown (…) It is not only a source of income, it is also a source of jobs and I appreciated the fact that Azomureş has made efforts to maintain its human resource even during the time it was down and I’m sure it will continue to do so.Furthermore, I understand that additional people will be recruited to run the plant and that is again good news for all Romanians,” said Burduja, according to Agerpres.
The general director of Azomureş, Josh Zacharias, showed that the company recently concluded contracts for the purchase of natural gas, which allow the resumption of fertilizer production at 50% of the factory’s total capacity, starting from October 2023.
“The purchase of natural gas was made despite the ongoing challenges we see in the structure of local energy markets, as well as the additional taxes that have just been announced, which will certainly increase our costs. On the other hand, we believe that securing the supply with fertilizers for the next agricultural season (2023 – 2024) is simply too important to be ignored for the Romanian agricultural sector, so it was time to act. Our intention is to keep Ammonia production in operation (gas being the raw material here ), as well as NPK, Ammonium Nitrate and Nitrolime finished product facilities as long as conditions permit, with the note that volatility in the gas and fertilizer markets is still at historic levels, so the future is still uncertain,” said Josh Zacharias, GM of Azomureş.
According to the management, the Azomureş platform produces ammonia (intermediate product for the manufacture of fertilizers) in two similar facilities, coded III and IV. The restart of Ammonia III and related installations will allow the manufacture of a significant amount of fertilizers for Romanian farmers who are preparing crops for the new agricultural season.
“Azomureş and fertilizers play a vital role in the Romanian economy, connecting the two big sectors of energy and agriculture. We had a continuous dialogue with the Government of Romania and especially with the Ministries of Economy, Energy and Agriculture to identify the best solutions that would allows us to fully resume our activity in a sustainable way. We have not reached where we set out to, but this is an important step forward and we believe that, by continuing the dialogue, we will ensure that Azomureş reaches 100% of capacity and contributes to the Government’s ambition to increase the volume of goods produced in Romania, to ensure jobs for Romanians, to improve the trade balance and, finally, to see the contribution to the state budget in a productive way,” also said Josh Zacharias.
Azomureş has announced since the summer and autumn of last year several stages of adjusting the production of ammonia and its other products, in the context of the high price of natural gas.