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Day 43 – Q 1.Discuss the locational factors of fertiliser industry. Why are fertiliser plants mostly located near natural gas sources? Explain.

1. Discuss the locational factors of fertiliser industry. Why are fertiliser plants mostly located near natural gas sources? Explain.   

उर्वरक उद्योग के स्थानीय कारकों पर चर्चा करें। क्यों उर्वरक संयंत्र ज्यादातर प्राकृतिक गैस स्रोतों के पास स्थित हैं? जांच करें।


Industries have affinity towards particular locations. Of course, availability of raw material is one of the major reasons, but that is not the sole determinant. Apart from common factors of all industries like power, transportation, labour availability, etc, there are few locational factors that help setting up of fertiliser industries.


Locational factors of fertiliser industry:

  • Presence of oil refinery: About 70% of the plants producing nitrogenous fertilizers use naphtha as the basic raw material. Example: Gujarat-Maharashtra region fertilizer plants at Hazira, Mumbai, Trombay, Vadodara etc.
  • Proximity to natural gas source:  For the production of Urea and nitrogen based fertilizers, natural gas is a necessity.
  • Presence of Iron and steel industry in the vicinity: Some fertilizer plants draw their feed stock from steel slug as well as coke and lignite. 
  • Pipeline infrastructure: During the recent years transportation of Naphtha or Gas through rail or pipelines has facilitated the widespread distribution of fertilizer plants with priority to seaboard location. Example: Hazira-Bijaipur-Jagdishpur (HBJ) pipeline and subsequent fertilizer industry in Bijapur, Sawai Madhopur, Shahjahanpur etc.
  • Port facilities: Some fertilizer plants import phosphate, potash etc. Many fertilizer plants export their produce to other countries via sea ports and pipelines.
  • Raw materials: Availability of mineral phosphate, raw potash material etc. Example: Florida, North Carolina, Utah and Idaho; India: UP, MP, Rajasthan.

Reasons for locating fertiliser plants near natural gas sources:

  • Essential feedstock: Fertiliser plants use major part of gas as feedstock, unlike power plants which burn it as fuel. When gas is burned as fuel, all carbon in natural gas is converted to carbon dioxide and emitted into the atmosphere. But in case of fertiliser, carbon dioxide is converted into urea and not emitted to the atmosphere.
  • Efficient fuel: Natural Gas offers various benefits like higher thermal efficiency, minimal gestation period, and higher plant load factor, lower capital costs and has the least emission for local and global environment. It is lighter than air, therefore is a safe fuel to use.
  • Clean mechanism: Methane is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Thus, there is elimination of methane production. Additionally, producing biogas through anaerobic digestion reduces odours and produces nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer.


  • Need for a stable and all inclusive policy formulation.
  • Giving a boost to domestic production based on reasonable gas costs, by removing all regulatory hurdles and ensuring sufficient gas requirements.
  • Encouraging bio-fertilizers and organic fertilisers.


Fertilizer industry is not only a significant market in terms of size, but also an essential industry serving global food production. With a stable and streamline policy for Fertilizers, Joint ventures with countries well-endowed with resources for fertilizer production, India can have a robust fertiliser industry and meet its agricultural and food security needs.

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