Indian Oil Bullish On Petrochem Biz

Mumbai, September 29: | Updated: Sep 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
State-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is very bullish on its petrochemicals business. The company has planned three major investments in the petrochemical business Rs 5,000 crore for a paraxylene/ purefied terepthalic acid (PX/PTA) plant at Panipat and Rs 3,000 crore for a linear alkyl benzene (LAB) at its Gujarat refinery.

The company is also exploring a Rs 7,000 crore investment for a naphtha craker plant.

MS Ramachandran, chairman, IOC, at the companys 44th annual general meeting (AGM), on Monday said that naphtha had registered a fall in sales last year due to low offtake from fertiliser companies. He added that some of the fertiliser companies had to shut their plants while others had not been able to operate at full capacity and hence it has been a difficult business for IOC.

Half the volumes of naphtha produced by IOC is sold through retailing, while the remaining is sold to institutions. Of the institutional sale, 90 per cent is sold to the defence sector. However, we have not lost a single existing buyer, added Mr Rama-chandran.

He added that the company was also looking for opportunities in other countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The company is also looking for securing equity in oil and gas from Iran, Kuwait, Sudan, Bangladesh, Qatar, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar and Indonesia. IOC and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) have been made non-operators for the Northern Kuwait Project, Mr Ramachandran informed the shareholders.

As part of the upstream activities, IOC is bidding for the oil and gas blocks for the fourth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

However, Mr Ramachandran refused to divulge the name of the partner company with whom it would submit the bids, the last date for which is September 30. IOC would bid for 12 exploration blocks under NELP - IV, he added.

IOC would be investing about Rs 25,000 crore in the tenth five-year plan in the refining sector and brownfield expansions, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plans and retailing.