İGSAŞ, the sector leader with a 20 percent share in the Turkish fertilizer market, will increase its urea production in Kocaeli from 560 thousand tons per year to 1.2 million tons with new investments.
Ilkay Unal, General Manager of İGSAŞ, said, “As the sole urea producer, we will increase our market share from 15 percent to 30 percent and substitute imports worth USD 500 million a year.” Stating that they have requested a location for DAP fertilizer facility from the state, Unal said, “We want to establish this facility in the Mediterranean basin with an investment cost of USD 350 million.”
İstanbul Gübre Sanayi Anonim Şirketi, one of the companies of Yıldızlar Yatırım Holding, merged under a single roof as İGSAŞ after the privatization of İstanbul Gübre Sanayi and Kütahya Azot plants in Kocaeli Körfez in 2004. Last year, approximately 10 million tons of fertilizer was consumed across Turkey, and İGSAŞ became the leader of the sector with a 20 percent market share.
At the last press conference of the year, Ünal, General Manager of İGSAŞ, which ranked 87th in the ISO Top 500 companies, evaluated the sector’s 2023 outlook and explained the investment targets for the future and the projects they will implement. Unal, who participated in the meetings organized in Ho Chi Minh City-Saigon, Vietnam, together with all stakeholders of the company, answered the questions of journalists.
1.2 million tons of production with more than 750 employees
With facilities in Kocaeli, Kutahya and Antalya, İGSAŞ currently has a production capacity of 1.2 million tons and employs more than 750 people. Noting that İGSAŞ is the sole producer of urea fertilizer, which is of critical importance for agriculture and industry, Unal said:
“The annual consumption of urea in Turkey is around 3-3.5 million tons… Approximately 2 million tons of this is used in agriculture and the rest in industry. Urea is the most critical nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilizers are divided into sub-base fertilizer and top fertilizer. Urea is the top fertilizer and is applied to crops after they reach a certain size. Our facilities in Kocaeli are still the only urea producer in Turkey. For example, we produce specific fertilizers for Antalya, which have a much smaller tonnage but are used intensively especially in greenhouses and vegetable production, apart from the classical fertilizers called powder liquid pure groups. In this facility, we aim to increase our capacity to 80 thousand tons in 2024.”
Developing fertilizer to cut imports with R&D
General Manager Unal stated that they bring the fertilizer types demanded by farmers not only through production but also through imports from different regions, and said, “We supply from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. We buy raw materials from countries where natural gas is available at affordable prices.”
Noting that they have modernized and increased capacity in Kutahya and Kocaeli facilities, Unal emphasized that they have established an R&D center in Kutahya to support smart agriculture and develop new products. “In this center, we are developing fertilizers that substitute imported fertilizers. We also carry out studies to find solutions to inefficient production processes, innovative solutions in mechanics and electrical-electronics, and the creation of new product recipes. Simultaneously, we continue our patent processes. We also continue our research and development activities within the scope of synthesizing, prescribing and producing products imported from abroad, which are used as raw materials in the products manufactured at İGSAŞ, with domestic and national resources. The aim is to produce the raw materials used in such projects domestically and reduce foreign dependency.”
Samsun and Hatay facilities will increase production to 1.7 million tons
Giving details about their new investments, Unal said, “In March 2024, our annual 220 thousand tons of organomineral and compound fertilizer factory will be commissioned in Samsun. We will have completed a USD 60 million investment. There is also a USD 60 million investment in Hatay for a compound fertilizer plant with a capacity of 250 thousand tons, and we have started construction there. Currently, İGSAŞ’s production capacity is 1.2 million tons. This will increase to 1.7 million tons with Samsun and Hatay. In this way, we will increase our share in the installed fertilizer capacities in our country from 16 percent to 21 percent.” Stating that they are preparing for a second urea investment at the Kocaeli facility, Unal said, “This investment was deemed eligible for project-based state support by the Presidency. We have received our EIA certificate and we are preparing our zoning plan in this process. Another goal is to produce another important fertilizer that is not in our product range in our country within 5 years. We have started our work for this investment, which will meet both our own needs and the needs of the market, and which we can export.”
Project to serve carbon capture technology on the way
With the European Green Deal and the Carbon at the Border Regulation, a carbon tax will be introduced for those exporting to EU countries outside the Union from the beginning of 2026. Iron and steel, fertilizer, aluminum and cement are among the sectors that will be primarily affected by the carbon tax at the border. Commenting on this issue, İlkay Ünal said, “We are rapidly continuing our efforts to reduce our carbon emissions and carbon footprint, and we will even make measurements and share them transparently. We are also planning to work on obtaining carbon credits. For this purpose, we will start our improvement work in Kütahya. We have a modernization project that will serve 100 percent for a serious carbon recovery and even carbon capture technology. We have prepared our plan for realization within two years. We have also decided to invest in a 30-megawatt SPP project in Central Anatolia. When we complete this facility, we will be able to meet all of our electricity consumption from renewable sources.”