Indian Oil’s refineries to operate at 80% capacity

Demand for petroleum products up

Published - May 11, 2020 10:20 pm IST - MUMBAI

Bengaluru, Karnataka, 22/10/2019: View of Indian Oil Petro Terminal Storage Tanks at Devanagonthi Suburbs of Bengaluru in Hosakote Taluk,
Photo: Sampath Kumar G P /The Hindu

Bengaluru, Karnataka, 22/10/2019: View of Indian Oil Petro Terminal Storage Tanks at Devanagonthi Suburbs of Bengaluru in Hosakote Taluk, Photo: Sampath Kumar G P /The Hindu

With demand for petroleum products gradually picking up, India’s largest petroleum retailer Indian Oil Corporation (IndianOil) has re-started several process units at its refineries that were down due to the lockdown.

“With throughputs gradually picking up pace, the refineries are currently operating at about 60% of their design capacities with plans to scale up to 80% of the design levels by the end of the month,” said Indian Oil in a statement.

IndianOil has resumed manufacture of petrochemical intermediates like HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and polypropylene at its Panipat complex.

Naptha cracker unit

With the demand for these grades likely to increase even further in the coming days, the naphtha cracker as well as the MEG (Mono-ethylene-glycol) plants at Panipat are back in operation.

The polypropylene plant at Paradip too will resume operations in a couple of days. The other polymer units are being readied to go online this month.

The revival of the Panipat naphtha cracker unit will also facilitate further increase in refinery crude oil throughputs, according to the company.

“Even though the nationwide lockdown had severely impacted the entire value chain of petroleum products, IndianOil has kept all its refinery units on ‘hot’ standby to be ready for scale-up to higher throughputs once the product demand picks up,” said the statement.

The Corporation’s refineries were operating full throttle before the COVID-19 lockdown but had to curtail throughputs and bring operations down to nearly 45% of design capacities by the first week of April 2020 in view of product containment issues forced by a steep drop in demand.

Despite the substantial reduction in sale of petrol, diesel, ATF, fuel oil, bitumen, etc., there was a spike in demand for LPG cooking gas and the refineries responded to the challenge by improving LPG yield from its units.

Similarly, IndianOil’s naphtha cracker unit at Panipat was primed to operate well over its design capacity in March 2020 but had to reduce throughput substantially, and even shut down a few units, due to a build-up in polymer product stocks as well as logistics issues in the wake of the lockdown.

“With the gradual lifting in lockdown restrictions, several downstream industries in the plastics packaging, medical supplies and food packaging sectors have resumed operations from late April 2020. As a consequence, dispatches of polymer grades used in these industries have begun from Panipat.

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