Farm nutrient supplier Ballance Agri-Nutrients celebrates 20 years of ownership of the country's only ammonia urea manufacturing plant this month, with new gas supply contracts securing its ability to keep meeting the needs of New Zealand farmers for many more decades to come.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says security of gas supply, a new air discharge resource consent, and a significant recent investment of more than $30 million in maintenance and capital improvements earlier this year mean that the company can offer employees and customers continued security.
"We have secured supply of around seven petajoules of gas each year for the next eight years - which is about equal to the total domestic gas supply for the North Island.
"This security enables us to continue investments including maintenance and capital improvements that will create efficiencies to lift production and lower the environmental footprint of the plant," says Mr Bilodeau.
In addition to securing gas supplies through to 2020, following consultation with neighbours and the regional council, the Kapuni ammonia urea plant has been granted one of its new operating permits by Taranaki Regional Council until 2035.
"The new permit, or resource consent, provides for all discharges to air associated with the manufacture of ammonia and urea at the plant, and is expected to be followed by the necessary water consents later in the year," says Mr Bilodeau.
The plant currently produces about 260,000 tonnes of agricultural urea each year, which is just under half of New Zealand's total market, saving the country approximately $100 million dollars in foreign exchange annually in relation to importation costs.