Casale acquired in 2014 from Borealis (formerly GPN) the complete set of that company’s proprietary process technologies for the production of nitric acid (NA), ammonium nitrate (AN), urea-ammonium nitrate solution (UAN), and multi-nutrient fertilizer products, including its granulation technology. This move is a major step in Casale’s strategy to expand its process design capabilities and know-how downstream of ammonia and urea production, in which it is an acknowledged world leader of long standing.
The history of the global fertilizer market is one of growth, and that is set to continue in the foreseeable future thanks to a number of factors. These include:
- General growth in world population
- Changing diet in specific emerging markets
- Reduction of available agricultural land
- Increased cultivation of crops for biofuel production
- Rising quality requirements in global fruit and vegetables trade.
Of the three main plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), nitrogen is the one that is needed in the greatest quantity. Though urea is today the most widely-used fertilizer product, accounting for more than 50 % of worldwide fertilizer consumption, a significant proportion of nitrogen will continue to be provided in the form of nitrates (principally ammonium nitrate), which give better results in some soils and climates. The other essential nutrients are provided by phosphates and complex fertilizers.
Nitric acid is the essential intermediate for the nitrates but has also a number of other important uses in the chemical industry, especially in the production of explosives.
Through the acquisition from Borealis, Casale will be able offer the nitrogen fertilizer industry a more complete and integrated portfolio of well-proved and highly reputable technologies, backed by a level of service that is already celebrated among its existing clients.
This is, in fact, much more than a straight technology acquisition, because Casale has entered into a continuing partnership with Borealis under which the two companies will co-operate closely in the future development of these technologies. It is a partnership that combines the best of all worlds – the innovative vision and technical excellence that are the foundation stones of Casale’s culture, Borealis’s technical and operational experience as a producer, and the inestimable benefit of having access to Borealis’s production facilities for testing new developments.
Casale has long experience and highly-developed capabilities in all kinds of projects, including:
- Grassroots plants
Casale customers can benefit from the whole gamut of services, starting from feasibility studies through complete engineering design, procurement of materials and, thanks to the contracting experience of Casale’s sister company Chemoproject Nitrogen, project contracting on a turn-key basis.
As a result of this agreement with Borealis, Casale is now able to offer its customers the entire N value chain, from natural gas feedstock up to N fertilizer, reinforced by:
- Full access to both Borealis/GPN’s many years of operational experience and to its production sites
- More than 50 years of process licensing experience in each and every product
- The extremely good worldwide reputation of all the technologies
- The biggest single burner, nitric acid plant in operation over the last eight years.