BPCL preparing blueprint for petrochemicals venture

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 12, 2018 Published on September 12, 2018

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is preparing a strategy blueprint to venture into the petrochemicals business in a big way, the firm’s Chairman and Managing Director, D Rajkumar, said on Wednesday.

The state-run oil refiner has also started work on shifting some facilities, such as LPG storage tanks that are not required in the premises of its Mumbai refinery, which was hit by a recent fire in the hydro-cracker unit, to enhance safety.

“We have taken board approval for our petrochemical strategy and this will be both commodity and niche derivatives,” Rajkumar said. “What, when and how will be worked out soon,” he said.

BPCL has taken the initial steps to enter the petrochemicals business by investing around Rs 5,000 crore in a Propylene Derivatives Petrochemical Project (PDPP) as part of the Integrated Refinery Expansion Project in Kochi Refinery. The PDPP is slated to start operations by March 2019, producing “three specific petrochemicals”.

“As a strategy, all future expansion plans of BPCL group refineries will be oriented towards production of petrochemicals,” he said.

While all the oil marketing companies are concentrating on and maximising transportation fuels, going forward, because of the market dynamics, all the OMCs will move towards petrochemicals, which would also form a larger chunk in their portfolio, Rajkumar said.

The fire in the hydro cracker unit of the refinery happened not because of an operational failure or any slip-up on the part of refinery operations. “It turned out to be a material failure,” he said, adding that the loss has been estimated at around Rs 97 crore, for which a claim would be filed with insurers. “This has opened up a number of questions, how material can fail and that is being investigated,” the CMD said.

“As far as the Mumbai refinery is concerned, we are looking to shift some of the facilities that are not required in the refinery premises, including the LPG facilities,” Rajkumar said.

“Currently, there are a number of lorries plying in the area. Once this is shifted, there will be a 43 per cent reduction in the tanker lorry movement in that region. People living in the vicinity had been seeking a reduction in road movement; this was the thinking within the organisation as well. Fortunately, we were able to get some land in Rasayani and we want to see how much more land is available and identify the facilities that can be shifted. We have got environment clearance for shifting the LPG facilities to Rasayani, and we are also working on the design. In 24-30 months’ time, we would see the LPG facilities getting shifted there,” the CMD said.

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Published on September 12, 2018
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