IOC plans refinery, petrochem units in Central Asia

Written by Anupama Airy | New Delhi, Apr 11 | Updated: Apr 13 2008, 04:16am hrs
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has informed the petroleum ministry that it is looking into the possibility of setting up refinery-cum-petrochemical complexes in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. IOC is setting up a similar facility in Turkey with its partner Calik Energy and is currently engaged in discussions with some other international oil and gas majors for jointly developing the project as a consortium.

Currently, IOC has no activity pertaining to E&P or refining in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. However, IOC is keen to participate in the forthcoming tender to be shortly floated by the Turkmenistan government for a new refinery cum petrochemicals project for processing 3 million tonne of oil and 3 billion cubic metre of gas per year.

The state-owned oil company of Kazakhstan-KazMunaiGs (KMG), which has already evinced interest to partner IOC for its new refinery-cum-petrochemical complex at Ceyhan in Turkey, is being considered as a potential partner by IOC for jointly setting up gas processing and gas based petrochemical complexes (including crackers) and derivatives in Kazakhstan.

As per IOC, the two companies (KMG and IOC) can have a mutual partnership agreement the techno-economic viability for setting up such projects can be explored jointly.

Currently, Turkmenistan has two refineries with a total refining capacity of 2,40,000 barrels of oil per day. The government of Turkmenistan has plans to raise the total refining capacity to 3,20,000 bpd in the next 8-10 years and construct three new refineries to bring the total refining capacity to 640,000 bpd by 2030. Therefore, similar tenders are also expected to be floated in the new future.

Alongside, IOC is also keen to participate in Turkmenistan's gas sector. IOC, in its recent letter to the petroleum ministry (April 1) has offered to develop projects in Turkmenistan as an integrated package. This, it says can also be looked at as an alternative approach to the gas pipeline project, currently stuck due to security and other concerns.

IOC has offered development of onshore gas fields; developing natural gas liquefaction facilities; setting up pot facilities for transporting LNG; purchasing LNG in bulk to bring it to India; augmenting the refining and petrochemical capacity besides setting up of gas marketing and CNG networks in Turkmenistan. According to IOC, GAIL can also be involved along with IOC in setting up of gas marketing and CNG facilities besides NTPC, which can be roped in for constructing a gas based power plant in Turkmenistan.