September 15, 2022
Azomureș adjusts its operations in the context of the energy crisis
The energy crisis at the European level causes the management of Azomureș, the only producer of agricultural fertilizers in Romania, to adopt a new set of measures to reduce activities on the production platform for the coming months.
Azomures production has been significantly reduced during 2022. Energy prices in Romania have been much higher than production costs. Currently close to 70% of European fertilizer production is shut down.
"It's been a year since we drew attention to the problems that can arise in the industrial area, with the increase in energy prices. Energy prices have been high since fall 2021, significant spike hikes have been realised after the Russian invation – energy market continues to be volatile after closure of NorthStream 1. Despite the fact that Romania had at its disposal a support scheme, which other European states have applied, until now there has been no form of support for the industry that uses natural gas as a raw material in the production activity. The population is supported by capping the price of gas and electricity, but what happens if people run out of jobs to pay the bills? This is where the greatest danger is and unfortunately we are in a position to take new measures, some of which have an impact on our employees", said Harri Kiiski, the general manager of Azomureș.
The companies that provide various maintenance services on the Azomureș platform have been notified that their activity will be reduced by at least 30% in the coming months, with a potential direct impact on the employees of these companies. More than 200 other direct employees of Azomureș are also affected, delegation to other companies or technical unemployment being the solutions identified so far. Only essential staff are retained for night and weekend shifts, which will reduce the income of a significant number of employees. From an operational point of view, the facilities are ready in any case to be restarted at 50% capacity, when the economic realities are met.
The authorities in Romania will soon have at their disposal a new set of measures that can be applied to support the local industry, including that of fertilizers. Their application represents the maintenance of thousands of active jobs and the collection of substantial revenues to the state budget, directly and indirectly through the companies that depend on the large industrial platforms.
European commission has lately included fertilizer industries to key industries that should be kept operational “financial support measures to support companies in energy intensive industries such as fertilizer production”.
Azomureș is the most important producer of fertilizers for agriculture in Romania. Azomureș also supplies raw materials (Urea and Melamine) for several industrial targets in Romania. The annual production (under normal operating conditions) is 1.6 million tons of fertilizers, approximately 75% of the production being intended for Romanian farms. Azomureș is part of the Swiss group Ameropa, one of the largest traders of fertilizers and grains globally.