Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Armed with the ambitious plans to make India the ‘refining hub’ of Southeast Asia, Indian Oil Corporation has drawn up a mega expansion programme to leap frog its refining capacity from the present 47.35 million tonnes to 80 million tonnes annually by 2011-12.

Export hub

The expansion plans would play a key role in realising India’s bid to emerge as an export hub for finished petroleum products, according to IOC Director (Refineries) B. N. Bankapur.

Mr. Bankapur said that during the XI Plan, investment of more than Rs. 45,000 crore had been envisaged in the refineries division alone. The ongoing mega projects, including the naphtha cracker project at Panipat and the residue upgradation and MS/HSD quality improvement project at Gujarat refinery, would cost Rs. 23,200 crore.

IOC is also setting up a 15-million tonne grassroots refinery, integrated with petrochemicals units (paraxylene, propylene and styrene) at Paradip. The investment at Paradip is the biggest ever at one location its implementation was a big challenge, he added.

Expressing happiness over the performance of IOC refineries, Mr. Bankapur said the refineries achieved record crude processing of 47.4 million tonnes during 2007-08, a growth of 7.7 per cent over the last year. The refineries hade made all efforts to achieve the new feat of more than 100 per cent capacity utilisation during the last eight years.