India projects see more delays

By Malini Hariharan

The blog has been updating the status of Indian petrochemical projects and has found that many are running behind schedule.

Reliance Industries’ mega cracker at Jamnagar has yet to get off the starting block. The company is holding on to an end-2014 start schedule for the 1.4m-1.6m tonnes/year cracker which will be based on offgases and other refinery feedstocks. Sources close to the company said that preliminary work related to technology selection has been completed and the projects team is only waiting for the green signal. Given Reliance’s project implementation record it should be able to keep the schedule if a decision is taken soon.

Meanwhile, Reliance has started work on a 1.1m tonnes/year purified terephthalic acid (PTA) project at Dahej on the west coast of India. The project is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2013. Reliance has also planned a second PTA plant of a similar capacity at the same site. Technology has yet to be selected but the target date for completion is end-2013. A new paraxylene (PX) of 1.3m-1.5m m tonnes/year at Jamnagar has also been planned for completion at the same time.

The other big PX/PTA project in Baroda, Gujarat, by Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is unlikely to be completed before Q4 2013 as the company has yet to make a final investment decision.

“A decision should come through in 1-2 months; the company would then need 30-32 months to execute the project,” said a source close to developments.

This 370,000 tonnes/year PX and 560,000 tonnes/year PTA project was earlier scheduled for completion at end-2012/early 2013.

IOC is also looking at putting up a PX plant at its refinery in Haldia, West Bengal. A decision on this project is dependent on an offtake commitment by Mitsubishi Chemical which operates two PTA plants at Haldia.

“They have to agree on legal and commercial issues; if they arrive at an agreement this year then we are looking at start up in 2015,” he added.

One project that has been progressing is state-owned GAIL’s 450,000 tonnes/year expansion of its gas cracker at Pata, Uttar Pradesh. The expansion will feed a new 400,000 tonnes/year swing linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE)/high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant. The blog has heard that Univation is likely to provide technology for this unit and startup is scheduled for 2014.

However, Gail’s joint-venture cracker project in Assam in Northeast India has been delayed to beyond 2015, said a source close to the company. The sub worldscale project (cracker capacity of only 220,000 tonnes/year) has been facing many problems including a steep escalation in costs.

Local media reports have estimated that the project cost has nearly doubled to Rs 100bn ($2.2bn).

The government is now examining how to make the project viable; more subsidies will have to be offered, the source added.

The project makes no sense but GAIL has no choice but to implement it as the government is keen to develop this part of India.
And lastly, ONGC Petro-Additions Ltd’s (OPaL) 1.1m tonnes/year cracker project at Dahej has seen another setback. A source close to the project have told the blog that Daelim and Chevron Philips Chemical who had bagged the contract for a 340,000 tonnes/year HDPE project have parted ways. As a result OPaL will have to reissue tenders and this could mean a delay of 6 months; the Q1 2013 target looks impossible, said the source.

As reported earlier the company faces a situation where its cracker would be completed at least six months ahead of the derivative units. The blog would like to know if olefin traders have started knocking on OPaL’s doors.

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