State-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has started shipments of polymers from its naphtha cracker at the Panipat refinery, marking IOC's entry in the polymer business. Production capacity includes 850,000 tpa of ethylene using the latest Lummus Global's patented technology. By the first week of June 2010, IOC plans to activate the downstream production units including 350,000 tpa of linear low density polyethylene, 300,000 tpa of high density polyethylene, 650,000 tpa of polypropylene, 600,000 tpa of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant.
The cracker is currently running at 50-60% capacity, and is expected to reach full capacity in 2-3 months. The annual requirement of 2.4 mln tons of naphtha will be met from IOC's refineries at Gujarat, Mathura and Panipat. This will result in a drastic cut of over 65% in IOC's naphtha exports of about 2.5 mln tons.
IOC plans a 25% capacity expansion at Panipat, boosting refinery capacity to 300,000 bpd by October to meet growing fuel demand. IOC is through with most of the modifications to this effect and awaits the lean monsoon period of August to shut down the refinery to complete the process. At a total cost of US$226 mln, the expansion plan will also include shut down of a 120,000 bpd crude distillation unit, a hydrocracker unit, and a delayed coker unit for 45 days to revamp.