Air Products to supply hydrogen, other gases to BPCL India refinery

Air Products has signed a long-term agreement with Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) to build, own, and operate several new industrial gas production facilities in Kochi, Kerala, India.

The new industrial gas complex will provide hydrogen, syngas, nitrogen and oxygen for BPCL's Kochi refinery and its proposed petrochemicals complex. The facilities will support India's largest-ever outsourced hydrogen requirement and will result in Air Products' first hydrogen production facilities in India.

A phased onstream procedure for the products supplied to BPCL's Kochi refinery is planned, with 2015 targeted for the initial supply of gases.

The new facilities will supply industrial gases to BPCL's Kochi refinery, which is currently undergoing a $2.6 billion integrated expansion project that will increase its crude refining capacity to 15.5 million tpy (310,000 bpd). Under the agreement, Air Products will provide a combination of the following plant technologies:

  • two steam methane reformer (SMR) trains combining to produce approximately 16.4 tons/hour (165 million standard cubic feet/day) of hydrogen to be used in the production of cleaner burning transportation fuels and petrochemicals;
  • a cryogenic syngas purification system to produce syngas, a mixture of purified hydrogen and carbon monoxide;
  • steam generated from Air Products' units for BPCL's manufacturing process;
  • an air separation unit to produce nitrogen and oxygen for the refinery and petrochemical complex; and
  • a gas turbine to produce power for the Air Products facilities.

"This important investment supports Air Products' commitment to the Indian market and will help to make BPCL's Kochi Refinery the largest and most viable public sector refinery in the country," said Howard Castle-Smith, regional vice president of tonnage gases at Air Products for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and India region.

"The agreement also supports Air Products' strategy of supplying refineries with industrial gases as they continue to expand, and also as new grassroots refineries are built to meet growing energy demand," he added. "Once onstream, this location will become a benchmark reference facility in the region and demonstrate our technological and operational excellence."

Castle-Smith said the agreement follows Air Products' well-established on-site business model of winning profitable projects by signing long-term agreements with reputable customers.

These efforts and other productivity improvements will help to improve the BPCL Kochi refinery's conversion of heavy crude, allowing for the production of clean fuels to meet Euro IV/V specifications. It will also position BPCL and the petrochemicals facility for diversification into higher value-added petrochemicals.

The plant configuration and deployed technologies support Air Products' overall sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions, according to company officials.

The new hydrogen facilities will be built through the global hydrogen alliance between Air Products and Technip. The plant will feature the latest technology advancements to maximize energy efficiency and emissions reduction, and will include optimal heat integration, which in turn lowers feedstock consumption during production.

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