18 March 2013 13:39 [Source: ICIS news]
GURGAON, India (ICIS)--IndianOil plans to expand its linear alkyl benzene (LAB) plant at Vadodara in Gujarat state by 42,000 tonnes/year in 2015-2016, a senior company executive said on Monday.
"Demand for LAB in India is expected to grow at 6-7% annually in the coming years, as rural consumption of surfactants has increased," said Sidhartha Mitra, the company's executive director (petrochemicals), on the sidelines of the Petrochemical Conclave 2013.
Following the expansion, IndianOil's LAB capacity will increase to 162,000 tonnes/year.
IndianOil had been looking at expanding its LAB capacity for a few years, but no firm decision or start-up date had beeen announced.
India's imports of LAB jumped to 140,000 tonnes/year in 2012, a 40% increase over the previous year, said Mitra.
India has an installed LAB capacity of 530,000 tonnes/year, an industry source said. Consumption of LAB totalled 500,000 tonnes/year in 2012, creating a shortfall of 40,000 tonnes/year.
However, low operating rates at some Indian plants as well as exports of around 60,000 tonnes/year to destinations with better netbacks, resulted in a deficit of 140,000 tonnes/year, which was met by imports, the source said.
Other LAB producers in India include Reliance Industries, Nirma and Tamil Nadu Petroproducts Ltd.
Additional reporting by Malini Hariharan
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