£40 million statement of faith in Teesside fertiliser manufacturing as demand grows
CF Fertilisers is set to invest approximately £40 million in its North East-based Billingham manufacturing complex following two years of record outputs building on the near 100-year heritage of fertiliser manufacturing at the site.
The biggest investment at the facilities for 20 years, the project will create over 100 temporary jobs during its execution over the next two years, says CF Billingham site manager Keith Brudenell.
“We are now the only company manufacturing high-quality Ammonium Nitrate in the UK with our iconic blue bags a feature on farms up and down the country.
“Since CF Industries took a 100% holding in the site in 2015, demand has grown considerably, and we are now developing the plant to keep pace with this and meet the challenges of the future.”
The bulk of the money will be spent on two key projects to improve the infrastructure and production capabilities of the site with the development of other facilities and equipment also planned.
“The first priority is a £15.75 million project to upgrade and rationalise the Billingham high voltage electricity distribution network including replacement of switchgear on the Ammonia plant and upgrading those on the fertiliser production units.
“The new high voltage network will be ‘state of the art’ with a lifespan in excess of 40 years giving us significant power security for future needs and making for more efficient production.”
The second major project is a £15.5 million upgrade to the Ammonia reforming plant designed to extend its life by 20 years.
“This will involve replacement of the steam reforming equipment and gas transmission piping on the high-temperature part of the plant and our aim is to complete the upgrade by 2020.”
In addition, CF Fertilisers is investing £8 million to replace a range of equipment in one of its acid plants to improve reliability and meet the growing demand, Keith Brudenell explains.
“All in all, this is a real vote of confidence in the Billingham site and its team and for industrial chemicals on Teesside in general.
“It will allow us to continue the long history of Ammonia and fertiliser manufacture at Billingham and make sure we are in the best shape possible to look after the needs of all our employees and customers as we approach our 100-year anniversary in 2023."
News of the investment coincides with exceptional safety statistics released by the company, Mr Brudenell says.
“At both our Billingham and Ince, Cheshire, production facilities we have now recorded 1 million hours of production accident-free at each site.
“We are proud to have achieved our best safety record ever in 2017 at Billingham.”