Numaligarh Refinery lets contract for new diesel hydrotreater

May 31, 2021

Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. (NRL) has let a contract to Honeywell UOP LLC to provide technology for a new unit to be added as part of the operator’s expansion of the 3 million-tonnes/year Numaligarh refinery in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam’s Golaghat district, in far-northeastern India (OGJ Online, Mar. 1, 2021; Jan. 16, 2019; Aug. 13, 2014).

As part of the contract, UOP will deliver licensing of its proprietary UOP Unionfining process technology to outfit a grassroots diesel hydrotreater for production of cleaner-burning diesel that complies with India’s recently enacted Bharat Stage VI (BS VI, equivalent to Euro 6-quality) emission standards, the service provider said.

UOP’s scope of delivery includes supply of catalyst for the unit.

Alongside enabling production of BS VI-quality diesel, the Unionfining technology also will increase the refinery’s crude oil conversion capabilities in support of NRL’s broader aim of expanding crude processing capacity at the site by 6 million tpy to 9 million tpy, UOP said.

Further details regarding the value and duration of the contract award were not disclosed.

Scheduled to be completed by 2024, NRL’s refinery expansion comes as part of the government of India’s Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 initiative to help meet growing demand of petroleum products in northeastern India.

Officially approved by India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in January 2019, the originally planned 225.94 billion-rupee Numaligarh expansion—which also will include construction of a 180,750-b/d, 1,398-km crude pipeline from Paradip to Numaligarh, as well as a 120,500-b/d, 654-km products pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri—subsequently required an additional investment of 41.65 billion rupees to complete for a revised overall project cost of 267.59 billion rupees, according to NRL.

According to a February 2020 environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the refinery’s expansion completed by Engineers India Ltd. (EIL), the project—which will involve construction of a new refining unit at the site designed to process imported sour crudes—will add the following major units and capacities at Numaligarh:

  • Combined crude-vacuum distillation unit (with naphtha stabilizer); 6 million tpy.
  • Naphtha hydrotreating unit; 1.2 million tpy.
  • CCR unit; 750,000 tpy.
  • Naphtha isomerization unit; 500,000 tpy.
  • PFCC unit; 1.95 million tpy.
  • FCC gasoline hydrotreating (desulfurization) unit; 580,000 tpy.
  • Diesel hydrotreating unit; 3.55 million tpy.
  • Hydrogen generation unit; 95,000 tpy.
  • Residue upgrading unit (ebulated bed, with vacuum gas oil hydrotreater); 2 million tpy.
  • LPG treating unit; unavailable.
  • Fuel gas treating unit; unavailable.
  • Sour-water stripping unit; unavailable.
  • Amine regeneration unit; unavailable.
  • Sulfur recovery unit, tail-gas treatment unit; 230,000 tpy each.

The project additionally will involve a revamp of the refinery’s existing 300,000-tpy delayed coking unit to increase its processing capacity to 570,000 tpy, according to EIL’s EIA.

Ongoing progress on the refinery expansion project follows Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.’s late-March 2021 divestment of most of its 61.65% interest in NRL to a consortium of government-owned Oil India Ltd. (OIL) and EIL, with the remainder of its shares slated for transfer to the government of Assam (OGJ Online, Apr. 2, 2021).

OIL and the government of Assam previously held 26% and 12.35% interests, respectively, in NRL (OGJ Online, Feb. 9, 2021).