By Ben DuBose
NEW DELHI -- Excess capacity of surplus naphtha and stranded propylene from refineries is driving a resurgence in Indias petrochemicals industry, the director of refineries for Indian Oil said Wednesday.
Speaking at the International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC), R.K. Ghosh referred to more than 10 major petrochemical projects in his country with recent announcements. Some have been finished, while others remain under development.
For his company, Indian Oil, that includes new 700,000 tpy units for polyethylene and polypropylene, as well as a 1.2 million tpy paraxylene plant.
The utilization of surplus naphtha and stranded propylene from refineries, as well as other potential refinery molecules such as n-paraffins and petroleum coke, are the key drivers of petrochemicals, Mr. Ghosh said.
When Indian Oil began to see margins squeezed in its fuels business during the past decade, it responded by pursuing an integrated operating strategy.
At Panipat, arguably the company's flagship refinery, Indian Oil launched an 800,000 tpy naphtha cracker in March 2010. It is currently India's largest operating cracker, with feedstock sourced internally from Indian Oil's Gujarat, Panipat and Mathura refineries.
With refinery utilization rates in India above 100% over the past five years, opportunities are abundant with stranded resources.
Theres so much you can do with the pooling of stranded products, such as naphtha and PetCoke, Mr. Ghosh explained. You can set up a scale resid upgrader, petrochemical units and even power plants.
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