"2022 was a record production year, which is a key milestone: For the first time, we reached 1.4 million tons of granulated urea, which is above the designed plant capacity."

Marcos Sabelli

CEO, PROFERTIL

November 03, 2023

What have been the latest milestones and developments at Profertil?

These have been challenging years, with a world that wanted to finally leave the pandemic behind and companies that had to rethink our practices and habits to adapt to the ‘new normal.’ In this context, we also had to carry out the largest plant stoppage in our entire history, which involved great challenges to take care of people. The implementation of technology and protocols, along with the commitment of the team, allowed the stop to be achieved in a timely manner.

On the other hand, 2022 was a record production year, which is a key milestone: For the first time, we reached 1.4 million tons of granulated urea, which is above the designed plant capacity. This shows not only of the optimal operation of the plant, but also the performance of our team, that knows the facilities down to the smallest detail and has taken them to levels of excellence.

Another milestone has been the recertification of the IFA's Protect & Sustain program, which certifies safety, environmental care and emergency readiness throughout the life cycle of our product. It is the most ambitious certification that a plant like ours can aspire to, so we are proud to have achieved it for the second time.

How will you source 100% renewable energy for your operations at Bahía Blanca?

This is a historic moment for Profertil: In Argentina there are only a dozen companies that have achieved this. 100% of the electrical energy at the Bahía Blanca plant will be renewable, specifically from YPF Luz wind farms. This brings to zero the greenhouse gas emissions linked to the energy supply, that is, scope 2 emissions.

The impact is enormous, since Profertil today supplies 50% of Argentina’s urea demand for agricultural production, so roughly 40 million t/y of crops will be nourished with urea generated with renewable energy. To put it into perspective, our consumption that will be coming from wind sources is the equivalent of 78,000 homes.

How has Profertil’s production capacity evolved over the years?

The historical production of granulated urea at Profertil has been in the order of 1.1 million t/y. In 2018, when we completed the energy saving and capacity expansion project, we brought our nameplate capacity to 1.32 million t/y, while reducing the amount of water and gas used per ton of urea produced. That is our current figure, despite the fact that we reached an absolute record of almost 1.4 million t/y in 2022.

Profertil allocates 100% of its production to the local market. This has been very important, especially in these years of both global and local geopolitical and economic complexity: Argentina had guaranteed the supply of more than half of the urea it needed for its crops, which necessarily implies relief when looking for urea to import.

What are the main challenges that the agro sector in Latin America struggles with, and how is Profertil supporting?

Without a doubt, the challenge is to produce more food on a very small portion of land, and to take care of that land for future generations. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be 9 billion people in this planet, and we will need to generate approximately 50% more food. At the same time, the surface of the Earth available for cultivation is barely 3%. So, in that portion, we must produce more and also ensure the sustainability of the soil resource for generations.

All this is achieved, basically, by applying technology and innovation throughout the chain, and also by strengthening the work side by side with agricultural producers so that they apply the best management practices.

Do you have a final message for our international audience and APLA members?

Argentina has enormous potential in energy production, thanks to the development of Vaca Muerta, and especially from the recently inaugurated gas pipeline. For a company inserted in the agro-industrial chain, this means potential to produce more and better food for the world. Profertil, being the company that transforms gas into granulated urea, will continue to play a key role in the development of a fundamental sector for the country's economy as one of the largest food producers on the planet.

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