Staff Reporter

The project will help the refinery to upgrade the quality of fuels to meet Euro-III norms.

KOCHI: BPCL Kochi Refinery is all set to receive the mega main reactor for its new Vacuum Gas Oil Hydro Desulphurisation Unit (VGO HDS).

The new VGO HDS unit is coming up as part of the Capacity Expansion and Modernisation Project (CEMP-II) that is slated for completion in December 2009. The CEMP-II will help the refinery comply with the government of India’s “Auto Fuel Policy” to upgrade the quality of fuels to meet Euro-III equivalent emission norms effective from April 2010.

Fabricated and manufactured by China Forging Heavy Industries, Dalain, under the close supervision of China Petroleum Technical Development Corporation (CPTDC), the reactor has been shipped to Kochi port and is scheduled to arrive here on May 18.

The main reactor that weighs around 725 tonnes is one of the heaviest pieces of machinery being transported in a single piece in India.

The reactor is made of forged steel plates 18 cm thick, using special alloy steel (vanadium modified steel).

The manufacturing process of a reactor of this magnitude involves special care to meet the metallurgical requirements.

Tenders for the reactor were floated on a global basis, in which around seven reactor-manufacturing companies participated.

Larsen & Toubro was the only Indian manufacturer in the bidding process and the CPTDC bagged the order on the lowest quote basis.

The order for the reactor was placed for a value of Rs 80 crore (landed cost) in June last year, said a press release from BPCL-Kochi Refinery here on Wednesday. Specific transporting plans have been charted for this over-dimensional consignment. To minimise disturbances to the general public, the reactor would be navigated through inland waterways between Kochi Port and Irumpanam.

Around 12 bridge crossings and five pipe way crossings are to be passed before it reaches Irumpanam and a special barge has been fabricated for the purpose. At Irumpanam, a dry docking facility is also being developed for unloading the reactor on to trailers. On the road, it would be taken on a low bed, 40-axle trailer with a total of 320 tyres so as to ensure that the load on the roads are restricted to stipulated traffic loads.