The high demand for urea is due to its low cost, economical and safe transportation, convenient application, and increased productivity in agriculture. In addition, It is considered the most reliable and economical product in terms of storage and transport because it does not pose a fire or explosion hazard.
This type of fertilizer, distinguished by its highest nitrogen content (46.3%) and its ability to dissolve quickly in water, is obtained by synthesizing ammonia and carbon dioxide. Another advantage of urea is that it can be used separately and in combination with other fertilizers. In addition, urea is widely used in animal feed production and other chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
SOCAR Carbamide Plant meets Azerbaijani agriculture’s urea needs. The plant's opening ceremony, founded in 2011, took place on the 16th of January 2019. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the ceremony. The South Korean company Samsung Engineering designed and constructed the Sumgait plant using technology from the Danish ammonia licensor Haldor Topsoe and the Dutch urea licensor Stamicarbon BV. Finnish company Neste Engineering Solutions provided project management consulting and independent inspection services. More than 3,600 workers were involved in the plant's construction during the peak construction period, and more than 18 million man-hours of work were performed without accidents.
At the time of SOCAR’s commissioning of the Carbamide Plant, it was the largest project in the non-oil sector in the country. The state budget initially funded the project. Then, the Export-Import Bank of South Korea (KEXIM), as well as Societe Generale (France), Deutsche Bank (Germany), and UniCredit (Austria), loaned 500 million euros in state guarantees. SOCAR has also allocated about 100 million euros to pay taxes, duties, and other expenses related to the project.
The Carbamide Plant can produce 650-660 thousand tons of urea annually using 435 MM m³ of natural gas as primary raw material. While nitrogen fertilizers were imported to Azerbaijan before the plant was put into operation, SOCAR’s Carbamide Plant can now fully meet the needs of the domestic market and export more than 70% of its products. The urea produced by Carbamide Plant topped the list of non-oil sector exports with a total of USD 209.7 million in 2022.
The peculiarity of the plant is that the product used here as a primary product is natural gas, a local product. That is, carbamide does not contain any foreign components. It will use 435 million m³ of natural gas a year. If we sold natural gas to existing foreign markets at today’s prices, we could get about $80 million. However, the cost of the product to be manufactured in the form of urea will be $150-160 million. That is, we have almost doubled the efficiency. We have created a wonderful export product for our country. We are producing local fertilizers for the development of agriculture and making a great contribution to the non-oil industry of our country.
Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan