The state-owned Chattogram Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL), one of the largest fertiliser factories in the country, has stopped operations after the Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGCL) suspended gas supply from Tuesday night.
However, the gas distributor continued to supply gas to Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company Limited (Kafco), an international joint venture fertiliser plant, as Kafco's contract with the government stipulates uninterrupted gas supply.
The state-owned fertiliser producer is counting an average loss of Tk1.75 crore per day due to the suspended production, said officials.
CUFL produces an average of 1,250-1,300 tonnes of urea fertiliser per day at a production cost of Tk5,700 per tonne and directly supplies it to the state-owned Bangladesh Chemical Industries Association (BCIC).
On the other hand, the BCIC has to buy urea from Kafco at Tk90,000 per tonne.
CUFL General Manager (Administration) Mainul Haque said the factory stopped production at around 10 pm on Tuesday owing to the gas crisis.
The factory resumed production on 20 February after it had been out of operation for 2.5 months due to mechanical failure.
CUFL sources say the factory has an annual production capacity of 5.61 lakh tonnes of urea and 3.10 lakh ammonia.
CUFL General Manager (Administration) Mainul Haque said, "CUFL should get the priority in gas supply."
According to Bangladesh Fertiliser Association, every year Bangladesh requires 26.5 lakh tonnes of urea fertiliser, of which some 10 lakh tonnes are produced in the country. The rest are imported from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
CUFL supplies more than 5.5 lakh tonnes of the total urea produced in the country.
Kafco, on the other hand, produces around 1,500 tonnes of ammonia and 1,750 tonnes of urea per day. BCIC buys about 6 lakh tonnes of urea fertiliser annually from Kafco.
MM Majed, managing director of KGCL, said, "Due to the gas crisis, we were forced to stop supply to CUFL as per government instructions. Supply to Kafco is continuing as uninterrupted gas supply to its factory is required under its agreement with the government."