Indian Oil Company’s (IOC) seventh refinery is located at Panipat, 125km from Delhi, in the state of Haryana in northern India. The main units of the facility are a once-through-hydrocracker (OHCU), a residual fluid catalytic cracker and a continuous catalytic reformer unit, as well as other secondary treatment units.
The 6mpta Panipat refinery was constructed and commissioned in 1998 with an investment of Rs38.68bn, which included the costs of marketing and pipeline installations. The refinery capacity was expanded to 12mtpa in 2006. The capacity was further expanded to 15mtpa in November 2010.
The Panipat refinery is the most technically advanced public sector refinery in India. It supplies petroleum products to the state of Haryana and the north-west region including Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal, Uttaranchal, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Diesel hydro desulphurisation unit
In July 1999, the Panipat refinery commissioned its diesel hydro desulphurisation unit (DHDS) for the production of extra low sulphur diesel with a sulphur content of less than 0.25% weight.
The refinery was the second unit in the country to be commissioned, the first being the unit at the Gujarat refinery, which was commissioned on 12 June 1999. When the commissioning was formalised, the refinery became the fastest commissioned DHDS plant in the country.
Saudi Aramco, National Iranian Oil Company and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company have shown a keen interest in picking up a stake in the east India refinery of the IOC. The companies are understood to have initiated discussions with IOC to take a 26% equity stake in the project.
IOC’s original partner was Kuwait Petroleum Corporation; however, it withdrew from the project. IOC decided to go ahead with the project on its own. At the time of negotiations, KPC re-examined the proposal in light of the Asian financial crisis, fearing that a joint venture may not be profitable.
Panipat refinery expansion
In September 2008, IOC announced its plan to expand the Panipat oil refinery’s capacity to 15mtpa with an investment of Rs8,060m; however, the cost of expansion increased to Rs10.07bn. Earlier, around Rs41.65bn was invested by the company to increase the refinery’s capacity to 12mtpa. The expansion project was commissioned in mid-2006.
The 15mtpa expanded units were commissioned in November 2010. The expansion required 50% closure of the plant, for 40 to 45 days. The project revamped the capacities of the crude and vacuum distillation units, OHCU and the delayed coking unit. In addition, second-stage reactors were installed in the diesel hydrotreating unit of the refinery.
Naptha cracker complex
In February 2011, a new naphtha cracker complex was officially inaugurated at the refinery. Built at an investment of Rs144.4bn ($3.3bn), the complex was commissioned in March 2010.
The complex includes a polypropylene unit (600,000mtpa), mono-ethylene glycol unit (300,000mpta), linear low density / high density polyethylene swing unit (350,000mpta) and high density polyethylene unit (300,000mtpa).
The utilities at the complex include a 239MW power plant, three 144,000m³ / hr capacity cooling towers, an N2O2 plant, an effluent and water treatment plant, lab facilities, 100 storage tanks, 1,600km of pipeline, 8,000km of cable and 2,925 pieces of various equipment.
The new complex is the largest of its kind in India. The polymer grade ethylene and propylene produced will be processed into polypropylene, LLDPE, HDPE and other intermediaries.
The 2.3mtpa feedstock required for the complex is sourced from the Mathura, Panipat and Koyali refineries.
Panipat oil refinery project
The main secondary processing units at the refinery include a residual fluidised catalytic cracking unit, a bitumen blowing unit, a catalytic reforming unit, a hydrocracker unit, a visbreaker unit, a sulphur block and other auxiliary facilities.
For the first time in India, a fast-track project implementation method called Lumpsum Turn Key was adopted to meet the stringent time schedule for supply of low sulphur diesel.
The quality of diesel at the refinery was improved by commissioning a diesel hydro desulphurisation unit in 1999. The process of desulphurisation through the DHDS enables the reduction of sulphur content in diesel, resulting in positive environmental protection results in the control of automotive emissions.
The Panipat refinery is known for producing high quality, environmentally friendly petroleum products, and has developed a new import substitute, 96 RON petrol. IOC is also investing Rs11.3bn in improving the quality of petrol processed at the refinery.
In July 2009 IOC planned a capital expenditure of over Rs600bn to expand its refining capacity from 60.2mtpa to 80mtpa by 2011-12.
The significant project involved the Panipat refinery’s capacity expansion to 15mtpa from 12mtpa and an investment of around Rs297.7bn in the 15mtpa refinery of Paradip, as well as other investments.