State-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) will invest about ₹25,000 crore to set up an ethylene cracker plant at Rasayani, 50 kilometres from its Mumbai refinery, as the firm pushes further into the petrochemicals business to fuel growth.
The share of petrochemicals in BPCL’s portfolio is currently “around 1per cent” as the refiner mostly focussed on transportation fuels so far. But, with electric vehicles coming in, the firm reckons that “it is likely to have some impact on transportation fuels”.
“We are now thinking of diversifying more into petrochemicals. Our plan is to move from 1 per cent to 10 per cent and, if possible, go up to 15 per cent. This is what the existing configuration of our refineries will allow us. The existing configuration cannot be tweaked to a large extent to achieve higher percentage of petrochemicals unlike a new refinery,” D Rajkumar, BPCL’s Chairman and Managing Director, said.
India’s second biggest fuel retailer is currently in the midst of modernising its Mumbai refinery and shifting some of its non-process related facilities such as the LPG and POL plants to Rasayani, where it is buying land from Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd. (HOC) to set up these units.
“The main thing for Rasayani is petrochemicals which will be done in two phases. In the first phase, we will put up the LPG and POL plants and replace the old Catalytic Cracking Unit (CCU) and Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) with a modern Petro Resid Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit (PRFCC), which will produce Propylene,” R Ramachandran, director (refineries), BPCL, said.
Propylene is used as a feedstock for making Polypropylene — a polymer used in industrial applications such as packaging, plastics, textiles, living hinges and the automobile industry.
The LPG and the POL plants will cost about ₹2,000 crore and the Polypropylene plant will be about ₹4,500 crore.
“We are not stopping there. We have in mind a second phase which mainly involve setting up an Ethylene cracker plant that is also connected to the refinery which will require an investment of about Rs. 25,000 crore. We are planning for that two years from now. We have a first stage clearance from the board for the Ethylene cracker plant and we are starting a feasibility study on that,” Ramachandran said.
BPCL is looking to buy some 1,000 acres of land from HOC for the Rasayani facility. It has an arrangement with HOC for taking 684 acres, of which 243 acres is in its possession to be used for the LPG and POL plants, while the balance is in the process of being acquired, Ramachandran said adding that the company was “buying extra land to build the Ethylene cracker unit”.
It has also bought some land at Chembur, close to its refinery.
The refiner is looking to cut down the truck movement to and from the Mumbai refinery by shifting some of the non-process related facilities to Rasayani with the aim of reducing pollution.“In the de-bottlenecking from Chembur (where the Mumbai refinery is located) to Rasayani, we had estimated a reduction of 150 trucks per day initially. But, after buying more land at Chembur, we may further reduce some 40 trucks per day. So, totally we expect a reduction of 150-200 trucks per day which is a significant number,” Ramachandran said.
BPCL will commission its ₹5,236 crore Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project (PDPP) at Kochi refinery for manufacturing niche petrochemicals in the next six months. To expand its product portfolio further, BPCL is investing ₹11,130 crore to set up a facility in Kochi refinery for manufacturing Polyols, Propylene Glycol and Mono-Ethylene Glycol.
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