India’s Numaligarh Refinery to sell naphtha output to spot market

27 November 2013 08:26 Source:ICIS News

KOLKATA (ICIS)--India’s Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) is looking at selling the naphtha output from its newly commissioned splitter to the spot market for the time being, given delays in project start-up of its prospective captive user, a company official said on Wednesday.

The splitter in Assam province that can produce 160,000 tonnes/year of naphtha was commissioned last week and can produce petrochemical grade naphtha, the source said.
NRL’s naphtha production is supposed to provide the feedstock needs of Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymers Ltd (BCPL), which has yet to start operations at Lepetkata in north eastern Indian province of Assam.

NRL spent $14m (€10m) to build the splitter that converts naphtha generated in the crude distillation unit (CDU) and hydro-cracker unit (HCU) of the refinery into paraffin-rich material that is a suitable feed for petrochemical production, the official said.

BCPL has set the trial commissioning of its project in March 2014, based on the latest schedule, said an official from the Indian Ministry of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.

The BCPL project was conceived in 2007 and was expected to take 60 months to complete, but missed its April 2012 completion date, the government official said.

The project includes a 220,000 tonnes/year swing high density polyethylene (HDPE)/linear low density PE (LLDPE) unit; a 60,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) unit; a 55,000 tonne/year raw pyrolysis gasoline unit; and a 12,500 tonne/year fuel oil unit.

Even with trial commissioning in March 2014, the cracker would take months to stabilize operations and achieve full production, necessitating that NRL find buyers for its naphtha, the NRL official said.

NRL, a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, operates a 3m tonne/year grassroot refinery and holds a 10% stake in the Brahmaputra project.

GAIL India is the biggest stakeholder of BCPL with a 70% stake, while Oil India Ltd and the provincial government of Assam each has a 10% interest in the petrochemical project.

($1 = €0.74)

By Ajoy K Das