The strategic gas supply agreement entered into by a leading fertilizer producer in the country, Notore Chemical Industries, with Eroton Exploration & Production Company, an indigenous oil and gas producer, in 2015 has enhanced production of fertilizers from the Notore facility, giving the fertilizer, agro-allied, petrochemical and power company a strong competitive edge over other producers.
Due to the availability of gas to the Notore plant, production days per annum increased from 193 in 2014 to 304 days in 2016. Production was previously constrained because of the number of forced shutdowns the plant experienced.
Production is expected to increase further to 100 per cent of the plant’s installed capacity after the next planned turnaround maintenance, due in a few months.
Speaking on the enhanced productivity from the fertilizer plant, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Notore, Onajite Okoloko, said the partnership between his company and Eroton ended the gas supply shortfalls, which hampered productivity at Notore between 2013 and 2014.
According to Mr. Okoloko, significant shortfalls to its facility during the period for approximately 234 days cumulative, owing to incessant militant attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta, led to a significant drop in output from Notore.
“Our fertilizer plant depends on gas as a major feedstock for production, so when the attacks affected gas supply from oil and gas producers, this had a corresponding impact on our productivity.
“Notore’s plant has the capacity to produce 500,000MT of urea annually and 330,000MT of ammonia per annum, but this was halved between 2013 and 2015 because of gas supply challenges.
“But with the gas supply agreement entered into with Eroton which has proven gas reserves of 5 trillion standard cubic feet and is just 14 kilometres away from our facility, production has improved significantly,” he said.
The Notore chief executive said with the security in gas supply and significant gas reserves, the company has not experienced gas supply disruptions since Eroton commenced supply to its production facilities in March 2016, adding, “Notore is almost technically backward integrated on its own feedstock, which provides a strong competitive advantage.”
He said Notore also invested in a maintenance programme on the Onne fertilizer plant in the fourth quarter of 2016 to improve the reliability of the plant, adding that plans were in place for another scheduled maintenance in the first quarter of 2019, in order to optimize production from the fertilizer plant.
Mr. Okoloko, however, noted that fertilizer usage in Nigeria remained low, putting consumption at between 10 and 15kg per hectare, in contrast to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s recommended 200kg/ha.
“But we continue to educate and train subsistence and commercial farmers, as well as give them access to fertilizer through our distribution chain at appropriate pack sizes and affordable prices.
“We have a very effective distribution network that makes sure our fertilizers gets to the farmers. With over 350 trucks, 80 plus distribution partners and more than 3,000 retail outlets, we are able to reach millions of farmers in several local governments and states in the country,” he said.
About Notore Chemical Industries
Notore Chemical Industries Plc (Notore) is one of the leading fertilizer, agro-allied, and power companies in Africa and is committed to helping Nigeria and the African continent become self-reliant in food production and economic wealth.
Under the leadership of Mr. Okoloko, after acquiring the assets of the former National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON) through the federal government’s privatisation programme, Notore has since grown into an agricultural phenomenon, targeting local markets as well as exports.
The company’s principal activities include the supply of premium fertilizers, appropriate education on best practices for farming, and proper deployment of these practices for optimum results. The company has built a robust network of professionals that support farmers and farming communities across Nigeria.
After Notore acquired the assets of the moribund NAFCON in 2005, the company raised more funds from a syndicate of Nigerian banks and commenced extensive rehabilitation of the plant in 2007. In early 2010, it started commercial production and distribution of fertilizer across the country.
Notore has the largest Agricultural Services and Extension team and is the trusted partner to local, commercial and subsistence farmers in Nigeria. It has over 2500 Agro Dealers and has developed and trained over 3,500 Private Extension Workers/Village Promoters and has made fertilizer in appropriate pack sizes available to rural farmers in over 2,500 communities across 30 states.
Notore has created direct employment for about 500 Nigerians and indirect employment for over 5,000 Nigerians through its Distributors, Transporters and Private Extension Workers alone. It has contributed significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since production commenced. In 2010, Notore worked with experts and tackled the onion twister fungal disease experienced in Kebbi State.
Notore contributed significantly to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the government in recent past and is the primary supplier of fertiliser for the ongoing Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Federal Government.
ABP is an intervention scheme by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make Nigeria self-sufficient in the production of key crops. Notore has supplied various volumes of fertiliser already to Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Kaduna, and Benue States under the ABP with more states to be supplied as they sign on for the programme.
The company has positively impacted its host communities and Rivers State in particular through direct employment of host communities and Rivers State indigenes.
It has also developed and engaged several community vendors/contractors and is involved in the provision of scholarships, execution of electricity, water, and school projects, among others for the host communities.