New Delhi: Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Dr Mansukh Mandaviya has said on Friday that five fertilizer plants in India have converted from Naphtha to natural gas and 28 more are expected to follow. On being asked in the Lok Sabha whether the government has decided to use natural gas as a fuel in place of Naphtha in fertilizer plants of the country, Dr Mandaviya responded in the affirmative and listed down 33 plants where natural gas is being used or is proposed to be used as feedstock and fuel.
In a written response submitted in the Lok Sabha, the minister said that the use of natural gas in place of Naphtha reduces the cost of production. However, it does not affect the retail price of fertilizers as it is controlled by the government. "MRP of urea is statutorily controlled/ fixed by the Government, therefore, there is no impact of change in feedstock on MRP of urea."
Citing the examples of Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd (MCFL) and Madras Fertilizers Ltd (MFL), which have recently converted to natural gas, Dr Mandaviya said that the conversion has also led to overall reduction in carbon in the environment. "The feedstock conversion has resulted in reduction Steam Carbon ratio from 3.3 to 3.0 leading overall reduction in carbon in the environment. Replacing high sulphur content feedstock with eco-friendly feedstock ensures cleaner environment. There is an overall reduction in energy level used for the production of Ammonia and Urea," said the minister.
Natural gas is received through pipeline and directly used in the manufacturing process as both feed and fuel, eliminating the potential risk posed due to storage of large inventory of Naptha, he added.
Natural gas is slated to play a vital role in charting India's energy transition. The government has declared its intention to increase the share of natural gas in India's energy mix from the current 6 percent to 15 percent by 2030. In order to do so, the Centre aims to increase the usage of natural gas in long-haul transport (as LNG), and as fuel in refineries, steel plants, fertilizer plants and power plants. Although natural gas is not a clean fuel, however, it is considered relatively cleaner in comparison to coal, Naphtha and other conventional fuel. India has set a target of reaching net zero carbon emission by 2070.