Reliance eyes investments to raise petrochemical production

16 November 2010 03:53  [Source: ICIS news]

By Malini Hariharan

MUMBAI (ICIS)--India's Reliance Industries is evaluating investments in a number of chemicals including olefins and derivatives, acetyls, elastomers and fibre intermediates to increase its petrochemicals production from crude, a senior company executive said late on Monday.

“We would like to maximize petrochemical production from our refineries, swing product slate from fuel to petrochemicals and eliminate low value products such as petcoke and fuel oil,” said Partha Maitra, president of petroleum business at Reliance at Indian Petrochem-2010 conference in Mumbai.

Maitra said the new petrochemical investments would result in deeper integration with refinery operations and reduce fuel exports from Jamnagar on the west coast of India - where the company operates two huge refineries with a combined capacity of 1.23m bbl/day - by about 8%.

Currently about 12% of crude is converted to petrochemicals and this percentage would increase to 21.3%, he added.

Reliance was studying opportunities along the entire carbon chain, he said.

This included an acetyl complex of 790,000 tonnes/year of acetic acid and 150,000 tonnes/year of acetic anhydride based on carbon monoxide from syngas which would come from petcoke gasification.

Acetic acid derivatives such as vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), vinly acetate ethylene (VAE), poly vinyl alcohol (PVA), ethyl vinyl acetate and acetate esters were being studied.

“We are still deciding which derivative [to produce],” he added.

Also on the cards was Reliance’s fifth cracker in India with a capacity of 1.365m tonnes/year based on refinery offgases.

“This will be based on advantaged feed as of one-third of the C2 will be available as C2 while the remaining has to converted from ethane to C2,” he explained.

The cracker would also yield 150,000 tonnes/year of propylene and 90,000 tonnes/year of C4.

Derivatives being planned downstream of the cracker included 730,000 tonnes/year of monoethylene glycol (MEG), 500,000 tonnes/year of linear-low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and 400,000 tonnes/year of low-density polyethylene (LDPE).

In the aromatics business, the company was considering production of 1.5m tonnes/year paraxylene (PX) and 300,000 tonnes/year of benzene.

“This would be the largest single train PX,” said Maitra.

The PX would be used captively to feed two new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) units. The PTA would be used for new investments being made in polyester filament yarn and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

As part of a new elastomers complex Reliance had identified investments in 100,000 tonnes/year of butyl rubber, 40,000 tonnes/year of poly butadiene rubber (BR) and 75,000 tonnes/year of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR).

Earlier this year, Reliance signed a joint-venture with Russia’s Sibur for a butyl rubber plant at Jamnagar

Also on the cards was a new linear alkyl benzene plant with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes/year and a 800,000 tonnes/year carbon black unit.

“This would be the world’s largest carbon black [plant] in Jamnagar,” he added.

Maitra did not disclose timelines for the various projects but ICIS had reported earlier that the cracker and derivatives complex was planned for completion in 2014.

Work has also started on the PTA and polyester projects which would be completed during 2013.

The Indian Petrochem-2010 conference organized by Elite Conference and the Chemicals & Petrochemicals Manufacturers’ Association (CPMA) concludes on Tuesday.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Malini Hariharan
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