Aramco to partner on integrated megarefinery in India

Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals—a consortium of public-sector refining firms Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp., and Hindustan Petroleum Corp.—has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco to jointly develop and build RRPCL’s previously announced grassroots 60 million-tonne/year integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Maharashtra state on India’s west coast.

Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (RRPCL)—a consortium of public-sector refining firms Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL)—has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco to jointly develop and build RRPCL’s previously announced grassroots 60 million-tonne/year integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Maharashtra state on India’s west coast (OGJ Online, Jan. 29, 2016).

Signed in New Delhi on Apr. 11, the MOU provides that Aramco may also seek to include a strategic partner to coinvest in the megarefinery, which will have an overall cost of about $44 billion, Aramco and the government of India said in separate releases.

Following signing of the MOU, the parties said they will extend their collaboration to discuss the formation of a joint venture to provide for joint ownership, control, and management of the project, which will be owned by the three consortium companies as well as Aramco and any potential strategic partner it may include on a 50-50 basis.

As of Apr. 11, a prefeasibility study for the refinery is completed, and the parties are now finalizing the project’s overall configuration.

Designed to produce a range of products that include gasoline and diesel meeting India’s Bharat Stage 6-quality (equivalent to Euro 6) fuel-efficiency standards, the megarefinery also will provide feedstock for an integrated petrochemical complex equipped to produce about 18 million tpy of chemical products.

In addition to the refinery, cracker, and downstream petrochemical units, the project will include the development of associated installations such as a crude oil marine terminal for receiving feedstock, crude and product storage terminals, a raw-water supply project, as well as centralized and shared utilities.

Alongside enabling a strategic joint venture and investment partnership to help serve India’s fast-growing demand for transportation fuels and chemical products, Aramco’s participation in the megaproject allows the company to go beyond its usual role of crude oil supplier to a fully integrated partner that may help usher in other areas of collaboration, such as refining, marketing, and petrochemicals for India’s future energy demands, said Amin H. Nasser, president and chief executive officer of Aramco.

“Investing in India is a key part of our company’s global downstream strategy and another milestone in our growing relationship with India,” Nasser said.

Project background

Formed in 2016, the consortium of IOC, BPCL, and HPCL previously enlisted Engineers India Ltd. to carry out a detailed feasibility study for the megacomplex, which at the time, was planned for construction in two phases over a period of 7 years (OGJ Online, Dec. 9, 2016; Apr. 26, 2016).

Phase 1 of the refinery would include a crude processing capacity of 40 million tpy, with an additional 20 million tpy of capacity to be commissioned following completion of Phase 2.

While further details regarding specific processing units and technologies to be implemented at the project have yet to be revealed, the refinery will be configured to process a blend of two crudes within a gravity range of 27-30° API, according to documents posted to India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (EFCC) web site.

The complex also will have flexibility to process opportunity crudes, including waxy and high-tan grades as well as condensates, according to EFCC documents.

Once completed, the Maharashtra complex would displace the 33 million-tpy refinery operated by privately owned Reliance Industries Ltd. at its two-refinery, 60 million-tpy Jamnagar manufacturing complex to become India’s largest refinery.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

More in Capacities