State-run Bharat Petroleum, which expects to finish work on its 15.5-million tonne refinery expansion in Kochi by December and commission it in the fourth quarter, may look at further increasing its capacity to 22 MT.
“With land acquisition becoming one of the biggest hurdles in new projects, we may look at further increasing the Kochi capacity to 22 MT at a later stage as we have enough land there even after the ongoing Rs 16,5000 crore work,” BPCL Chairman and Managing Director S Varadarajan told reporters, without offering a timeline or the quantum of investment.
On the soon to be completed Kochi expansion from 9.5 MT to 15.5 MT, Varadarajan, who will be retiring this week, said, “We are on course to finish the work on the last unit by December and commission the Rs 16,500-crore Kochi refinery expansion project in the fourth quarter. Once completed, this will be the largest refinery in the public sector.”
It can be noted that public opposition to land acquisition is holding back many large projects in almost all the states. The 10,000-MW Jaitapur nuclear plant in Maharashtra’s Konkan coast is stuck due to opposition to land acquisition. Industry is fearing a similar fate for the proposed 1.8 trillion, 60-MT mega refinery on the West Coast.
Varadarajan, who was talking to the media after the AGM here, also announced up to Rs 55,000 crore investment in refining capacity over the next four years, while the total investment will be Rs 1 trillion.
While the largest player IndianOil has a 15-MT refinery at Paradip in Odisha, Reliance’ 33 MT plant in Jamnagar, Gujarat is the largest not only in the country but globally.
Similarly, Essar Oil has a 20 MT refinery in Vadinar in Gujarat, making it the second largest.
The third largest state-run oil marketer BPCL, with 23 per cent market share, currently has four refineries — in Mumbai, Kochi, Bina in Madhya Pradesh in joint venture with Oman Oil Company and Numaligarh in Assam.
As part of expansion of the 50-year-old Kochi refinery, the company will also be setting up a green biofuel refinery to produce ethanol by converting agricultural and municipal waste, he said.
The ongoing Kochi expansion is also part of BPCL’s Rs 20,000 crore integrated refinery expansion project, which also includes a Rs 5,000-crore petrochemical project, which will be primarily producing speciality chemicals.