Indian Oil Corp planning major refinery expansion

September 21st, 2008 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Mathura, Sep 21 (IANS) State-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is awaiting the environment ministry’s nod for a major capacity expansion project at its Mathura refinery in Uttar Pradesh, a senior official said. IOC director-refineries B.N. Bankapur told IANS that the project has to get clearance from the ministry as many environmentalists have expressed concern over the possible impact of the project on the nearby Taj Mahal.

The company is planning to raise the annual production capacity of the refinery from 8 million tonnes to 11 million tonnes.

“We have approached the environment ministry for necessary clearance and are hopeful that it will happen early,” Bankapur said.

At present, the refinery processes low-sulphur crude from Bombay High, imported low-sulphur crude from Nigeria and high sulphur crude from the Middle East.

IOC is planning to increase the quantity of high sulphur crude processed at its seven refineries to save money on crude oil imports.

“Currently our refineries process 50 percent of high sulphur crude and we want to take this up to 76 percent by 2012 through upgrading our refineries,” Bankapur said.

The refinery upgrade and petrochemical plant, planned by the company, will cut IOC’s naptha exports to 600,000-700,000 tonnes from the current over two million tonnes.

IOC is also considering purchase of crude from Cairn India’s Rajasthan facility from next year. It can take about two million tonnes of crude from Cairn’s Rajasthan oilfield but IOC was looking for a discount of up to $18 per barrel.

IOC’s Panipat refinery can take 600,000 tonnes of Rajasthan crude, while its Gujarat refinery can take 800,000 tonnes, Bankapur said.

Cairn India plans to produce 8.25 million tonnes of crude from its Barmer oilfield in Rajasthan and is looking at the state-run refiners for selling oil from the second half of 2009.

IOC is also expanding the capacity of its Panipat refinery from 12 million tonnes per annum to 15 million tonnes.

The Panipat Refinery Additional Expansion Project is expected to be completed by December 2009. This will ensure better supply of petroleum products to the strategic northwest region of the country.

IOC would invest Rs.500 billion for the total expansion projects, Bankapur added.

IOC controls 10 of India’s 19 refineries. The group refining capacity is 60.2 million tonnes per annum or 1.2 million barrels a day. It accounts for 40.4 percent share of the national refining capacity.

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