TEL-AVIV, ISRAEL, Sept. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Makhteshim Agan Group (TA: MAIN), a world leader in off-patent crop protection solutions, announces the transition to the use of natural gas at its Agan plant in Ashdod, following more than four years of preparations of infrastructure and the building of a system for natural gas by Israel Natural Gas Lines Ltd ("Natgas"). The system will be fully integrated within a month, and at the end of integration the use of heavy and diesel oils will be almost completely reduced.
Over recent months Natgas completed the work setting up the system and connecting the Agan factory and the Ashdod Industrial Zone to the natural gas network.
The changeover of the Agan Plant in Ashdod to using natural gas rounds off the transition of the Makhteshim plant in Ramat Hovav to natural gas about five months ago. The natural gas will be a replacement for heavy and diesel oil that had been used until now to operate the oil steam heaters and other installations within the factory.
The cumulative investment in infrastructure and connecting the natural gas system in the Agan Plant to the national transport network was about NIS 25 million over several years, and it is expected to reduce the Company's energy costs. In the first instance the system will supply the factory with about 30,000 cu. m of natural gas per day, and on completion of the integration the systems will supply about 40,000 cu. m daily.
The gas will be supplied as part of an overall contract signed by the Makhteshim-Agan Group with EMG for the supply of 60 cu. m of natural gas annually for the Makhteshim plant at Ramat Hovav and the Agan plant in Ashdod. In parallel the Group signed a back-up contract for the purchase of natural gas from the gas supplier Yam Tethys, in order to secure continuous supply of gas to the Company's factories.
The transition to using natural gas is an additional step in implementing Makhteshim-Agan's strategy to reduce its impact on the environment.
Chen Liechtenstein, Vice President for Global Resources of the Makhteshim-Agan Group, commented: "The changeover to using natural gas will improve our operating costs while protecting the environment. This step is part of an ongoing strategy by the Makhteshim-Agan Group to combine economic and environmental benefits through the use of advanced technologies."
Natgas states: "This is the second transport agreement to connect an additional Makhteshim-Agan factory, whose effect will be a further significant improvement in air quality in the Ashdod area, ever since completion of the natural gas pipeline in the south. With each factory connected to the transport network, the residents' quality of life improves, together with the saving of millions of shekels for industry."
In parallel, in the coming months it is intended to put up a private power station on the grounds of the Agan Plant in Ashdod to produce electricity and supply steam, which will be constructed by the Edeltech Group.
About Makhteshim Agan
Makhteshim-Agan Industries Ltd helps farmers around the world to increase the yield of their crops through the production and distribution of crop protection solutions.
In 2010, its sales reached USD 2.368 billion and it was ranked seventh in the global agrochemical industry and fourth in Europe, with a global market share of more than 5%. The Company is known for its extensive knowledge and experience, outstanding technological and engineering abilities, expertise in product registration, compliance with stringent environmental protection standards, strict quality control, and global marketing and distribution channels.
About Israel Natural Gas Lines
Natgas is a wholly-owned government company founded in 2003. When it was set up the government granted Natgas a license to create and operate transport infrastructure for natural gas for thirty years. As part of the license, the company delivers natural gas to consumers who use high pressure natural gas. The company operates in accordance with the Master Plan for Natural Gas that was prepared by the Natural Gas Authority. Based upon the master plan, Natgas has put up four of the central transport sections: a maritime pipeline (operative since May 2006), central (since May 2007), south (November 2009), and northern (this pipeline has been completed and is ready for operation). Additional lines are being planned, including the eastern pipeline and Jerusalem pipeline.
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SOURCE Makhteshim Agan Group