Reliance unveils new project to source US ethane to feed crackers in India

Reliance Industries is implementing a new project to source 1.5 million tpy of ethane feedstock from the US to feed its crackers in India, the company announced on Wednesday.

"The shale gas industry in North America has grown exponentially in the past five years," Reliance said in a media release. "As a result, ethane has become the dominant feedstock for crackers replacing liquids."
"Reliance’s investments in shale gas and its existing crackers portfolio in India are a natural fit for sourcing ethane from North America and shipping it to India to attain long-term feedstock competitiveness," the company added.

Reliance says it is planning to upgrade its crackers to maximize the cracking of ethane and also to have maximum operational flexibility to optimize feedstocks with complete control of the supply chain.

According to the release, Reliance has already executed storage and capacity agreements for the liquefaction and export of ethane from a North American terminal, which is slated to start operations in the second half of 2016.

To that end, Reliance says it is ordering six very large ethane carriers (VLECs), which will be the largest vessels of their kind ever built. The ships will be deliverd in late 2016, in sync with the radiness of the terminal in North America.

The company is also planning to develop a world-scale receiving and storage facility in India for liquefied ethane, and subsequently a pipeline to deliver ethane to the crackers.

"The project will significantly improve the long term competitiveness of our cracker portfolio through dedicated feedstock, enhanced margins, higher capacity and end-to-end integration," the company said.

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