Essar Group is looking to invest close to Rs 57,000 crore in Odisha in an iron ore pellet plant and a crude-to-petrochemicals facility over the next few years. The pellet plant, involving an investment of Rs 12,000 crore over the next three years, is in advanced stages of development – 131 acres of land has been acquired for the project in Paradip port, and all approvals received. Of this, 111 acres is port land and 20 acres is private land.
“The idea is to build iron ore pellets for exports. And these will have specifications required for green steel internationally,” Prashant Ruia, director, Essar Capital, told FE on the sidelines of the Make in Odisha Conclave ’22. Ruia said with steel-making increasingly moving away from blast furnaces to electric arc furnaces, the project will be able to provide iron ore pellets designed for that part.
Essar’s planned Crude-to-Petrochemicals plant
The second project the company will be developing in the state will involve investments of nearly Rs 45,000 crore to develop a crude-to-chemicals plant along with an international partner. “We are currently in the process of identifying the location with the government on the east coast of Odisha. It will be a large project and will require 3,000 acres of land,” Ruia said. He said setting up the facility is part of the group seeing opportunities in the change happening on decarbonisation.
Also Read: Essar Oil UK to build £360-m carbon unit
“Earlier it used to be crude-to-refinery, but now it has moved to crude-to-chemicals because the demand for petrochemicals is moving dramatically in India and globally,” he said. Ruia said the facility will be the first of its kind in the country, as there is no facility that converts crude directly to chemicals. “This facility will be able to convert almost 70% of crude to petrochemicals,” he said. However, he refrained from giving a timeline for the start of the greenfield project, as the company is in the early stage of identifying an international partner and getting approvals and land.
Job creation opportunities in Odisha
In terms of employment, he said while there will be direct jobs, the projects will result in development of a larger number of secondary and ancillaries, increasing employment in the state. The pellet plant itself will create 300-400 direct, permanent jobs, he said. Ruia said Odisha has made significant progress in ease of doing business and its land acquisition policies.
“In terms of the location, access to the market through ports, it is very good. Odisha will become a substantial player in the steel, metals and aluminium sector, one of the largest states in the next five to seven years in terms of capacity. We have been in the state for 17-18 years, and started doing mineral projects before all the people that are here today. It has been a lot easier to acquire land and develop projects here,” he said.