Indian Oil lets contract for proposed Paradip petrochemical complex

April 24, 2024
Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. has let a contract to Versalis SPA to deliver technology licensing for a new unit to be installed at IOC’s proposed petrochemical complex to be built nearby and integrated with the operator’s refinery on India’s northeastern coast.

Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOC) has let a contract to Lummus Technology LLC and Eni SPA subsidiary Versalis SPA to jointly deliver technology licensing for a new unit to be installed at IOC’s proposed petrochemical complex to be built nearby and integrated with the operator’s existing 15-million tonnes/year (tpy) refinery in Paradip, Odisha, on India’s northeastern coast.

As part of the Apr. 23 contract, the Lummus-Versalis partnership will license its cumene liquid-phase alkylation technology for a grassroots 400,000-tpy cumene unit at the planned Paradip petrochemical complex, Lummus said.

Alongside licensing of the cumene technology, Lummus confirmed its scope of work under the contract includes delivery of basic design engineering, proprietary catalyst supply, site services, advisory services, and training.

The service provider revealed neither the value nor duration of the contract.

The technology licensing award follows IOC’s late-March 2023 in-principle approval for execution of preliminary project activities—including preparation of a detailed feasibility report—for setting up the proposed Paradip petrochemical complex (OGJ Online, Apr. 4, 2023). The Stage 1 approval estimates the project at a cost of 610.77 billion rupees ($7.39 billion), which would be IOC’s largest single-site investment ever.

To become one of four of India’s proposed Petroleum, Chemicals, & Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIR), the Paradip petrochemical complex—if completed—will be set up on 284 sq km of land spread over Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts and anchored by IOC’s Paradip refinery and petrochemical units.

Together, the refinery and its existing petrochemical units would supply the proposed complex all necessary feedstock, including monoethylene glycol, petcoke-based synthetic ethanol, and paraxylene-purified terephthalic acid (PX-PTA), according to documentation from India’s National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency.

IOC and the government of India previously said the Paradip petrochemical complex will include a yet-to-be-identified type of cracker for production of ethylene, along with downstream process units for producing derivative products including polypropylene, high-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, linear low-density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, monoethylene glycol (MEG), among others. The complex also would enable production niche chemicals such as phenol and isopropyl alcohol.

While official documents on the proposed complex currently available to the public have yet to reveal details about the proposed inclusion of the newly announced cumene unit to be installed at the site, IOC said in its most recently released annual report to investors that the Paradip petrochemical complex would be equipped to produce a combined 3 million tpy of polyvinyl chloride, phenol, isopropyl alcohol, and other unidentified polymers.

With draft versions of the Paradip PCPIR’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental management plan (EMP) completed and preparation of the final EIA and EMP reports seemingly still under way, the project will still need to gain approval of its final, comprehensive EIA-EMP from India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (EFCC) to obtain the environmental clearance required to proceed to construction, the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals of India’s Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers said.

Neither IOC nor the government of India have officially confirmed details regarding an anticipated timeframe for completion of the entire Paradip PCPIR or other potential operators planning to participate in the project.