28 March 2005 00:01 [Source: ACN]
INDIAN Oil Corp (IOC) is considering building its second paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants in India, said a company source.
IOC expects to complete its first PX/PTA project in Panipat, Haryana, in Q4 this year. Construction of the 362 000 tonne/year PX plant and 520 000 tonne/year PTA unit is 70-75% complete. But IOC hoped to start production in October/November, said the source.
The interest in the new PX and PTA plants stems from the belief that India’s textile and polyester market will exhibit strong demand growth in the coming years, especially after textile quotas were removed on 1 January 2005. China and India are expected to be the major beneficiaries in the quota-free regime.
‘We have concluded that another PX and PTA project will be needed; we will be starting the study soon,’ said the source.
The capacity, location, and time frame for the proposed project have yet to be decided.
But unlike the first complex in land-locked Panipat, the second one is likely to be located near the coast, as this would enable easy export of any surplus. As for capacity, the idea was to capture the largest unit, added the source.
IOC will also be looking at expanding the Panipat PX/PTA plants once they are commissioned.
Separately, IOC is studying a refinery-and-cracker complex in Paradeep, Orissa, India (ACN 5 July 2004). Engineers India Ltd and Shell Global are carrying out a configuration and optimisation study on this project; they are expected to submit a report with alternative product configurations in April.
Approval from the IOC board for the proposed refinery and petrochemical project in Paradeep is likely to be sought in July. If it is given, IOC hopes to complete the project by 2010.
Paradeep, which is on the eastern coast of India, could have a big capacity for paraxylene, said the source. One of the alternatives that will be considered is a 30m tonne/year refinery, which would yield 4m tonne/year of naphtha and 1.4m tonne/year of PX.
As for IOC’s first cracker complex in Panipat, the company is looking at end-2007 for start-up, a slight delay from the original target of mechanical completion in July 2007 and start-up three months thereafter.
The complex will house an 800 000 tonne/year cracker and derivative units for high-density polyethylene (hdPE), linear-low density PE/hdPE, polypropylene, and monoethylene glycol (ACN 7 July 2004). Technology suppliers for all the plants have been selected.
The Haryana government is working on developing a processing hub in Panipat that would ensure IOC has a ready market for its products.
Around 2000 acres of land have been acquired and infrastructure is being developed. But work on this is said to be moving slowly, as the government has yet to make up its mind on the incentives that will be offered to prospective investors.
Turning to overseas projects, IOC is considering investing in National Petrochemical Corp’s No 12 Olefins project in Assaluyeh, Iran. A decision on this project will be taken after the completion of a joint feasibility study. ACN was earlier told that the study was likely to be completed by March (ACN 18 October 2004). However, this has been pushed back, as a consultant for the study is to be appointed soon.
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