Oslo, May 22, 2015
Towers, pipes and tanks surrounded Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, when she visited Yara Porsgrunn site, one of the largest and most eco-friendly fertilizer plants in the world.
The delegation at the top of the prill tower in porsgrunn. From the left: Plant Manager at Porsgrunn Per Knutsen, Regional Manager of NHO in Telemark Nikolai Boye, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Director General of NHO Kristin Skogen Lund
Together with the Director General of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), Kristin Skogen Lund, Prime Minister Solberg visited one of Yara Porsgrunn’s control rooms before ascending to the top of the 109-meter high prilling tower, which lends a unique view over the 1.5-square kilometer industrial park and the adjacent port.
As part of her visit to the Yara plant, located on Herøya island about 140 kilometers southwest of Oslo, Prime Minister Solberg stressed the need for Norwegian industry to undergo a shift towards green growth.
“Some years ahead there will be stricter regulations, so we have to adjust to a different type of society and those who adjust first will probably be those that have a comparative advantage in the international market,” said Prime Minister Solberg. “That will be a comparative advantage for companies like Yara.”
Creating a green advantage
Yara’s Porsgrunn plant is an example of how an ambition to safeguard the environment combined with a willingness to invest in state of the art technology can reap tangible results. Thanks to the installation of catalysts and an energy saving initiatives, Yara Porsgrunn has succeeded in cutting its emissions of CO2 equivalents by 84 percent since 2005. Despite dating back to 1929, Yara Porsgrunn is one of the most, if not the most, modern fertilizer plant in the world.
Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg meeting Plant Manager Per Knutsen
“I also think that the combination of high technology and less pollution will be a comparative advantage,” said Erna Solberg. “The market will demand a lower footprint from the different types of production in the years to come.”
As part of Yara’s ambition to grow this business, the company has established pilot plants at Yara Porsgrunn, where a team of researchers and experts test innovative catalyst technology. This technology, which Yara also sells to third parties, reduces global emissions of CO2 equivalents by close to 50 million tons a year, which is equivalent to all CO2 emissions of a country like Norway.
“We need business and climate consideration to work together,” said NHO director; Kristin Skogen Lund. “Yara is actually an excellent example of a company who has managed just that by, a long time ago, doing relevant research and today having products that reduce emissions that can be exported.”
Investing for the future
Erna Solberg and Kristin Skogen Lund also stressed the growing importance of Norway’s competitive and growth-oriented onshore industry in times when the country’s oil-dependent economy is affected by falling crude oil prices.
Last October, Yara clearly demonstrated its commitment to Norway as a production hub by announcing an investment of NOK2.25 billion (USD 350 million) to increase the capacity at its Porsgrunn site. The project includes a new-build nitric acid plant and innovative technology applications to expand the fertilizer production. This will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions further, improve energy efficiency and reduce waste.
“Here you have this environment with long traditions and you have this excellent cooperation between production, knowledge and research facilities that go hand in hand and we are very pleased that Yara has chosen to play on those assets and invest for the future here,” said Kristin Skogen Lund.