Essar defers shutdown of Vadinar refinery

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 28
-- Essar Energy will defer a 35-day shutdown related to expansion of its 300,000 b/d Vadinar refinery in Gujarat, India, to keep products flowing to Asian markets jolted by unrest in the Middle East and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Privately owned Essar, Mumbai, said it received requests from its major state-owned Indian customers—Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd., Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd., and Indian Oil Corp. Ltd.—to sustain operations through the scheduled shutdown period in May and June. Of particular concern, the company said, is supply of gas oil.

The shutdown now will occur in September and October, after India’s monsoon season.

Essar said timing of first-phase expansion to 375,000 b/d of distillation capacity won’t be affected. The project includes upgrades of the crude, vacuum distillation, visbreaker, and fluid catalytic cracking units and installation of vacuum gas oil hydrotreating, diesel hydrotreating, delayed coking, and isomerization units.

Last November the company said it would boost distillation capacity further to 415,000 b/d via optimization of new and existing units (OGJ, Nov. 15, 2010, Newsletter).

Ramp-up of the new units is to begin in the third quarter. Most of the increased production will be on stream in the middle of the fourth quarter.

A second, as-yet unscheduled phase of expansion would add 375,000 b/d of distillation capacity.

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