Refinery is expected to be commissioned in phases

Virendra Pandit

Ahmedabad, Sept. 22

Ahead of its refinery's scheduled commissioning next month, Essar Oil Ltd (EOL) on Friday received its first crude cargo of one million barrel at the Vadinar port in Gujarat.

The crude is Saharan blend, which is suitable for refining in Essar Oil's refinery. The company is also is reported to have contracted second cargo from Vitol, which is expected to arrive towards the end of this month from West Asia. Both cargos are of sweet crude. This is a major milestone in the commissioning of its refinery project.

The annual requirement of crude oil at Essar Oil's refinery is in the region of 10.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa), company sources told

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Essar Oil's refinery is configured in a manner that allows it the flexibility to process diverse varieties and qualities of crude such as light, heavy, sour or sweet crude. This gives the company a significant advantage of flexibility in refining and purchase in international markets.

Like any other chemical plant, Essar Oil's 10.5 mtpa refinery is also expected to be commissioned in phases, with primary units and a few secondary units going on stream in the second half of October.

The fluid catalytic cracker and a diesel hydro desulphuriser are expected to be commissioned in a couple of months, thereafter. All the utilities are ready, the sources said.

The units that are expected to be commissioned in the first phase are CDU, VDU, sulphur gas unit, naphtha hydrotreater, catalytic cracker and visbreaker.

The FCC and DHDS plants have been modified so as to be compliant with the cleaner Euro III and Euro IV fuels. The refinery configuration lends itself for de-bottlenecking and the capacity can be enhanced to 14 mtpa.

Over 11,000 persons are already working at the refinery site at Vadinar to ensure the completion before the scheduled date. All major consultants and contractors are on site working round-the-clock to ensure timely completion of the project.

The company work on a township for the employees is also nearing completion.

The refinery is fully integrated with its own dedicated 120 MW power plant, port and terminal facilities. It includes an SBM capable of handling vessels up to 3,50,000 DWT with a capacity of 25mtpa, tankages with interconnecting pipelines of 20 mtpa capacity; marine product dispatch capacity of 12 mtpa and rail-car and truck loading facilities.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 23, 2006)
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