IRPC '12: Indian Oil targets higher distillate yields

By Ben DuBose
Online Editor

VIDEO: On-site interview with A.S. Basu of Indian Oil

MILAN, Italy -- Indian Oil is steadily increasing its distillate yields as it targets growth in domestic and global consumption for diesel and other distillate fuels, a company executive said on Thursday.

Once multiple ongoing upgrader projects are concluded, Indian Oil’s distillate yield will increase to 79% by 2016, up from around 76% today and 72% in 2006, according to A.S. Basu, executive director of operations in the refineries division of Indian Oil.

Moreover, the company is striving to achieve distillate yields of as much as 84% in future years, he said.

“We are continuously striving to be ahead of the competition,” said Dr. Basu. “We’re looking at new projects operating at high efficiencies.”

Over the next 10 years, Indian high-speed diesel (HSD) demand is projected to grow by 5.5%/yr, buoyed by expanding transportation fuels demand. That contrasts with an expected 0.1%/yr decline for residual fuels, Dr. Basu said.

To reach that demand and expand its distillates production, Indian Oil will look to slurry hydrocracking, he explained.

The company believes slurry hydrocracking will enable improved integration with the gasification process, lead to maximum naphtha and diesel yield from vacuum residue, and further reduce or eliminate black oil/PetCoke.

The refinery expansions will also target global demand for Indian exports, Dr. Basu said. Since 2002, India has transformed from a net importer of petroleum products into a net exporter.

Based on the expansions, the company has seen a continuous increase in the yearly gap between its refining capacity and domestic demand.

That gap, which was at 42 million tons in 2008, has nearly doubled to 78 million tons at present and could double to over 140 million tons by 2016.

As such, global exports will be needed to fill that gap.

“The expansion of our refineries allows us to generate a significantly greater quantity of product,” he said. “We are looking to global markets.”

Indian Oil operates 10 of the 22 domestic refineries in India. It has a group refining capacity of 1.3 million bpd and a 31% share of the refining market, each the largest in the country for a single producer.

For more IRPC 2012 coverage, visit the HPInformer blog or the event website.

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