CIECH Soda Romania submitted the official documents for obtaining the environmental permit needed for the construction of a new co-generation power plant on its own premises from Valcea. Still, the company is working on a feasibility study for that power plant to reach the best final decision. CIECH Group – the owner of CIECH Soda Romania – intends to obtain an external partner for this project and to secure the possibility of using a support mechanism provided by the European Union.
The company already obtained the first needed administrative decision, the Certificate for Urbanism, almost one month ago. In the same time, the work is going on the feasibility study for the new power plant. According to plan, it should be ready before the end of the third quarter of 2020. The feasibility study will cover both the operational and financial aspects of the investment. As Group CIECH announced earlier, such investment excludes the ability to incur any investment expenses that could affect the balance sheet of the CIECH Group. Additionally, CIECH intends to establish cooperation with an external partner responsible for the construction and maintenance of a new steam source, as well as with the Romanian authorities to obtain support from state-aid programs and mentioned earlier European Union aid mechanisms for this type of project.
CIECH Group operates its own power plants in Germany and Poland with high efficiency and under strict EU environmental norms. The construction of its own steam source is one of the very few solutions for the company to be able to resume operations in Romania, after being forced in September 2019 to enter in long-term stand-by due to unsustainable commercial conditions requested by the unique local steam supplier.
“We remain focused on taking all necessary efforts to restart soda ash production in Romania. Our long standing experience in soda production in Valcea, coupled with our unique positioning in supplying our clients and our established operational experience with own power plants allow us to view our options positively. Our preference would be to find a viable solution with the local provider, however we have to ensure a sound business outcome. Our goal is to secure the volumes of steam at the quantity and quality required for our industrial processes,” said Witold Urbanowski, the General Manager of CIECH Soda Romania.
Since September 2019 the company waited for 6 months a decision regarding the various possible solutions to secure the steam supply in a sustainable way, after addressing all relevant local and national authorities with numerous reports, analysis and notifications which were drawing attention on the matter. CIECH Soda Romania covered all the team and maintenance costs related to this period. At the end of March, however, with the new pressure added by the pandemic outburst, the company decided to follow the course of a voluntary leave program for 72% of the 600 employees and collective dismissals procedure for 13% of the team.
During the emergency state, in April 2020, in order to respond to the needs of several local companies, CIECH Soda Romania rented an installation of a small steam generator to be able to produce own steam for the production of silicates and help its clients to respond to the increased needs of cleaning products.
At this moment a relatively small team is functional within the factory for the production of silicates and for the maintenance of the soda installations.
CIECH Group, the majority shareholder of CSR, is an international holding company in the chemical industry with a presence in over 100 countries and revenues in 2018 equivalent to USD 1 billion. In 2014, most of the CIECH shares were purchased by KI Chemistry, a company belonging to the largest Polish private investment firm, Kulczyk Investments.
CIECH Soda Romania S.A., a company of the CIECH Group, produced calcined soda and sodium silicate until september 2019. Since taking over the Govora Sodium Plants in 2006, CIECH has transformed the factory from the industrial platform into a competitive company on the market. In September 2019 the company entered in temporary stand by due to unilateral denouncement of the steam supply by CET Govora, incapable to offer steam at sustainable prices and volumes. Now the core company’s soda production lines are in a long term stand by until the company will develop own plans for a sustainable steam supply, a new co-generation power plant. Silicates production line is still functional and liquid silicate production will be soon resumed.