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Integrated Refinery Expansion Project By B. K. Datta, Director (Refineries), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a Navaratna Public Sector Oil company under Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is having a refinery at Kochi, with a refining capacity of 9.5 MMTPA producing Euro-III compliant auto-fuels and various other Petroleum Products. Kochi Refinery was commissioned in 1966 with crude oil processing capacity of 2.5 Million Metric Tons per Annum (MMTPA). The refining capacity has been augmented to 9.5 MMTPA through progressive revamps and capacity additions incorporating new units with state of the art refining technologies.

The Country’s continuing high growth of GDP will necessarily reflect in its energy consumption patterns and subsequently result in increased consumption of petroleum products. The demand for petroleum products is showing a healthy growth rate which necessitates refiners to increase their refining capacities. The Integrated Refinery Expansion Project (IREP) of BPCL proposed to be implemented at Kochi refinery is an effort to meet country’s growing energy needs and make auto-fuels more environment friendly.

The IREP project proposed by BPCL envisages the following:
Increasing the refining capacity of Kochi refinery by 6 MMTPA from the present 9.5 MMTPA to 15.5 MMTPA
Modernization of refinery to produce auto-fuels complying with Euro-IV/Euro-V specifications
Up-gradation of residue stream from the refinery to value added products so that the heavy stream generation from the refinery is minimized
Production of propylene as petrochemical feedstock to BPCL’s proposed petrochemical complex.

The foundation stone of the project was laid by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 7 January 2013.

Process Configuration
The capacity expansion by 6.0 MMTPA will be facilitated by installing a new state of the art Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) of 10.5 MMTPA. This new CDU will replace the existing 4.5 MMTPA CDU-1, which is quite old and energy inefficient resulting in energy savings and environmental protection.  Apart from the new CDU, associated process units like Delayed Coker Unit (DCU), Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU), VGO Hydro-treater (VGO HDT), Diesel Hydro-treater (DHDT) Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU), Hydrogen Generation Unit (HGU), etc along with matching Utilities and Off-site facilities are also envisaged as part of the project.
The estimated cost of the IREP is Rs.14, 225 Crores. The project is targeted to be completed by December 2015.

Present status of project implementation
HAZOP (Hazard and Operability) review of major process units and offsites completed. 60% 3D model reviews of major units have completed and 90% review of CDU/ VDU completed and balance targeted to complete progressively by Apr-14. The project has achieved an overall physical progress of 31.6% as on 15th February, 2014.
Site grading jobs completed and Piling jobs are in the advanced levels of completion. Civil, structural and UG piping jobs of units and off sites are in progress.  Ordering of major packages and long lead items completed.
 Work force of more than 4000 labourers is engaged at site on a daily basis, now, which is increasing as the jobs are progressing. IREP site has crossed 8 million man hours worked without any lost tome accidents (LTA).

Petrochemical venture
Propylene, a petrochemical building block, which is produced from these facilities, will be used to make petrochemical products like Acrylates, Super absorbent Polymer, Oxo-alcohol, Propylene Oxide etc.  BPCL is planning a propylene-based petrochemical venture to produce propylene derivatives.  
The estimated investment on this Petrochemical JV is in the range of Rs 5000-6000 Crs.  and the complex is expected to be on stream in tandem with the above expansion project.

Benefits to Society
This investment of Rs 20,000 Crores (including the JV investments) is the single largest investment in the state of Kerala, which can generate ample employment opportunities as well as all round economic growth and development. The social benefits that are expected out of this project of Kochi Refinery, to the society are many:
Provides cleaner environment as a whole due to production of better quality auto-fuels and reduced usage of high sulfur fuel oils.
Employment to large number of people during construction period for 3–4 years and also through supporting industries and associated infrastructure and service activities.
Direct employment to people after commissioning of the refinery.
Higher fund allocation for community development activities in the nearby panchayaths and Municipalities.
Availability of additional quantity of petroleum products including auto fuels for meeting the growing demand of the country.

Benefits to Industry
By this project apart from the conventional petroleum products, about 1.2 MMTPA of petcoke will also be produced. This, along with propylene and other petroleum products will provide a fillip to the industrial scene of Kerala.
Possibility of setting up a petcoke based power plant

Generation cost is comparable to coal

Cheaper when compared with power generated from other thermal sources such as naphtha
Kerala based PSUs like KMML, and Travancore Cements can use petcoke produced from this project
Additional sulfur production will benefit Kerala based industries like FACT and Travancore Titanium
Possibility of setting up downstream petrochemical units using propylene and  other propylene derivatives like acrylates, phenol etc.
Revival of ancillary industries in and around the project location
Increased revenue to government of Kerala by way of taxes and duties.

(With inputs from Prasad K. Panicker, ED (Kochi Refinery), BPCL.

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