GAIL lets contract for Usar polypropylene expansion project

Nov. 1, 2021

GAIL (India) Ltd. has let a contract to Lummus Technology LLC and Clariant International Ltd.’s Clariant Catalysts for a project to expand polypropylene production at the company’s operations at Usar Industrial Area, Usar, Tehsil Alibag, District Raigad, Maharashtra.

As part of the contract, Lummus Technology will license its proprietary CATOFIN process technology for a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit—to become India’s first—that will produce propylene feedstock for a new integrated downstream polypropylene (PP) unit for production of 500,000 tonnes/year of PP at the Usar site, the service providers said in separate releases on Oct. 21.

As Lummus Technology’s catalyst partner, Clariant Catalysts will deliver tailor-made catalysts to be used in the integrated $1.2-billion PDH-PP plant, according to Clariant.

Scheduled for startup by 2024, the PDH-PP project will involve conversion of an existing LPG plant at the site, GAIL said in filings on May 16, 2019, to National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. and BSE Ltd.

In its 2020-21 annual report to investors released on Aug. 9, 2021, GAIL confirmed Engineers India Ltd. (EIL) will be responsible for engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) on the Usar PDH-PP project, with Grace Technologies Inc. awarded the contract to act as licensor of its proprietary technology for the plant’s new PP unit.

According to the most recent official project documents from India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MOEFCC), the Usar PDH-PP plant—in addition to PP—also will produce 25,000 tpy of C4 LPG.

Pata PP expansion

GAIL also is advancing a project to expand PP capacity at its existing petrochemical complex in Pata, District Auralya, Uttar Pradesh, around 380 km from Delhi, which has a total nameplate polymer production capacity of 810,000 tpy but produced 813,000 tpy in 2020, according to the operator’s latest annual report.

The Pata PP expansion will involve the addition of a new unit at the complex that will use the site’s existing supply of propylene to produce 60,000 tpy of PP, GAIL said. The company also confirmed that EIL and Grace will act as EPCM contractor and technology licensor, respectively, for this new PP unit as well.

According to MOEFCC, following startup of the new PP unit, the Pata PP unit will be equipped with the following production capacities:

  • PP; 60,000 tpy.
  • Benzene-rich gasoline; 32,800 tpy.
  • Mixed fuel oil; 15,693 tpy.
  • High-density polyethylene; 200,000 tpy.
  • LPG; 271,059 tpy.
  • Pentane; 31,200 tpy.
  • Butene; 30,000 tpy.
  • Pyrolysis fuel oil; 12,000 tpy.
  • Naphtha; 31,200 tpy.
  • Propylene; 63,712 tpy.
  • Linear low-density polyethylene; 610,000 tpy.
  • Hydrogenated C4 mix; 23,320 tpy.
  • Propane; 23,048 tpy.

In August, GAIL said its combined overall investment to complete both the Usar PDH-PP and Pata PP projects will amount to about 100 billion rupees.

While GAIL confirmed work activities on both projects are under way, it has yet to disclose a definitive timeline for when it anticipates commissioning of the Pata PP project.

Once fully operable, the Usar and Pata projects will lift GAIL’s total PP production capacity to 1.65 million tpy, according to the operator.