IOC Defers PX/PTA, Proceeds With Acetic Acid, Butene-1

Business, Company Strategy, Fibre Intermediates, India, Olefins, Projects

By Malini Hariharan

The blog continues with a review of Indian projects.

State-owned refinery major Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has deferred its paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) projects at Vadodara in Gujarat state, to post 2015.

“The project is on hold because of commercial issues; we are looking at the total PX/PTA picture and deciding when it would be right to start this project,” says a company source.

The 370,000 tonnes/year PX and 560,000 tonnes/year PTA project, near the IOC’s refinery at Koyali, had earlier been planned for completion in 2013.

IOC has also shelved plans for a PX plant at Haldia, on the east coast of India, as it could not obtain an offtake commitment from Mitsubishi Chemical which operates a PTA plant at the same location, said the source.

Meanwhile, Reliance Industries is in the midst of executing an ambitious expansion programme in polyester and PTA. This includes two new PTA plants, each of 1.1m tonnes/year, with the first plant due in 2013 and the second in 2014.

The company’s cracker project at Jamnagar is inching forward, but with contracts yet to be awarded the blog understands that start-up is likely to be delayed by a year to 2015.

JBF Industries has also planned a 1.12m tonnes/year PTA plant at Mangalore in south India. This unit will be downstream of a 920,000 tonnes/year PX plant that is due to be brought onstream by ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd (OMPL) in 2013.

These expansions should feed the requirement of India’s rapidly expanding polyester industry. Polyester capacity is set grow by 27% this year to 8m tonnes/year and as a result PTA imports are likely to touch 980,000 tonnes in 2012, up from a little over 500,000 tonnes in 2011.

IOC may have deferred its PX/PTA project, but the company is working on a few others. It has started a feasibility study on a 1m tonnes/year acetic acid plant at Vadodara. The target date for this project, a joint venture with BP Chemical, is 2016, said the source.

The project will be based on the 1m tonnes/year of petroleum coke generated at the Koyali refinery.

Besides the acetic acid facility, the project also includes petroleum coke gasification and syngas production.

IOC is also working on a 20,000 tonnes/year butene-1 plant at its cracker complex in Panipat, Haryana.

“We are looking at the ethylene dimerisation route with technology from Axens. Negotiations are ongoing; completion of the plant is targeted for 2014,” the source added.

The butene-1 will be used captively at IOC’s 650,000 tonnes/year polyethylene (PE) facility at Panipat.

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