Reliance Reveals Major Investment Plans

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By Malini Hariharan

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 has told the blog.

“We would like to maximise 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 the 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 includes 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 via petcoke gasification.

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

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

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

The cracker will also yield 150,000 tonnes/year of propylene and 90,000 tonnes/year of C4s.

Derivatives being planned downstream of the cracker include 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 is considering production of 1.5m tonnes/year paraxylene (PX) and 300,000 tonnes/year of benzene.

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

The PX will be used captively to feed two new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) units; the PTA will be used for new investments in polyester filament yarn (PFY and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

As part of a new elastomers complex, Reliance has also 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 is a new linear alkyl benzene (LAB) 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,” he added.

Maitra did not disclose timelines for the various projects but we reported earlier this year that the cracker complex is due onstream in 2914.

Work has started on the PTA and polyester projects which are scheduled to be completed during 2013.

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