Privately owned Indian major Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has commissioned a new 1.5 million tpy refinery off-gas cracker (ROGC) unit, marking the completion of its largest ever petrochemical spending programme.
At around US$15 billion RIL’s investment is one of the world’s biggest petchem capital expenditure programmes in recent years. The ROGC complex is a core component of RIL’s Jamnagar expansion project (J3) at its integrated refinery-petrochemicals complex in Gujarat State. J3 includes the expansion of Jamnagar’s gasification plants, ethylene cracker complex and paraxylene plant. The ROGC unit has the potential to double the revenue of the company’s petrochemical business.
RIL’s chairman, Mukesh Ambani, said the new complex’s launch marked a paradigm shift in profitability and sustainability of the company’s downstream petrochemicals business.
“The ROGC complex is built on our core philosophy of deep feedstock integration to establish industry-leading cost and efficiency benchmarks,” Ambani said. The ROGC plant will act as a link between RIL’s two world-class refineries at Jamnagar as well as other company-run petrochemical units. The complex will source off-gases from the refineries as input, making raw material costs almost nominal.
This integrated strategy is likely to boost profit margins and help RIL compete with low-cost producers from the Middle East and North America. The off-gas from the refineries will be converted to ethylene and propylene, which will go through further value addition to deliver high-value polymer.
The major said there were 270 ethylene plants globally with a combined capacity of more 170 million tpy. RIL’s latest unit brings its total ethylene capacity to 4 million tpy across five sites that include Nagothane in Maharashtra and Hazira, Dahej and Vadodara in Gujarat.
“RIL joins the league of top petrochemical producers globally by doubling its ethylene capacity. With ROGC and imported ethane, RIL has one of the most competitive and flexible cracker portfolios,” the company said. “The ROGC complex was built in record time with 40% lower capital cost compared to similar projects globally.”
In fiscal 2016-17, the company’s petchem division recorded nearly 925 billion rupees (US$14.53 billion) in revenue, with operating profit of about 130 billion rupees (US$2.04 billion).