Search for oil by Pak Stanvac, an Esso Mobil joint venture in 1957, led to the discovery of Mari gas field situated near Daharki -- a small town in upper Sind province. Esso was the first to study this development in detail and propose the establishment of a urea plant in that area.
The proposal was approved by the government in 1964, which led to a fertilizer plant agreement signed in December that year. Subsequently in 1965, the Esso Pakistan Fertilizer Company Limited was incorporated, with 75% of the shares owned by Esso and 25% by the general public. The construction of a urea plant commenced at Daharki the following year with the annual capacity of 173,000 tons and production commenced in 1968. At US $ 43 million, it was the single largest foreign investment by an MNC in the country.
A full-fledged marketing organization was established which undertook agronomic programs to educate the farmers of Pakistan. As the nation’s first fertilizer brand, Engro (then Esso) helped modernize traditional farming practices to boost farm yields, directly impacting the quality of life not only for farmers and their families, but for the community at large. As a result of these efforts, consumption of fertilizers increased in Pakistan, paving the way for the Company’s branded urea called "Engro", an acronym for "Energy for Growth".
As part of an international name change program, Esso became Exxon in 1978 and the Company was renamed Exxon Chemical Pakistan Limited. The Company continued to prosper as it relentlessly pursued productivity gains and strived to attain professional excellence.
In 1991, Exxon decided to divest its fertilizer business on a global basis. The employees of Exxon Chemical Pakistan Limited, in partnership with leading international and local financial institutions bought out Exxon’s 75 percent equity. This was at the time and perhaps still is the most successful employee buy-out in the corporate history of Pakistan. Renamed as Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited, the Company has gone from strength to strength, reflected in its consistent financial performance, growth of the core fertilizer business and diversification into other fields.
Investments in people, process solutions and resource conservation initiatives have reduced energy use per ton of urea by a third, whilst increasing urea production nearly six-fold since 1968. Not only does this save money, it stretches non-renewable energy sources and mitigates the impact of waste. Along the way, a major milestone in plant capacity upgrade coincided with the employee led buy-out; innovatively optimizing our resources, Engro re-located fertilizer manufacturing plants from the UK and US to its Daharki plant site – an international first. Our pioneering spirit continues in our social investments, exemplified by the only snake-bite treatment facility in the Ghotki region and the first telemedicine intervention in the country.