MRPL gears up to produce cleaner fuel

It aims to supply BS VI quality fuel by 2020; gets environmental clearance for upgrading facility

July 23, 2017 11:06 pm | Updated 11:06 pm IST - MANGALURU

The third-phase plant of Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd., off Mangaluru. Anil Kumar Sastry

The third-phase plant of Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd., off Mangaluru. Anil Kumar Sastry

In the run-up to produce Bharat Stage VI compliant fuel, the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL), is preparing to upgrade its existing production facilities as well as set up a new unit.

Catering to the fuel requirement of Karnataka and parts of neighbouring States, MRPL produces about 1.2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of petrol and 6.5 MTPA of BS IV standard, at present.

Having secured environment clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on July 10 for the upgrade plan, MRPL will shortly commence construction activities, while project engineering work is nearly complete, said Director (Refinery) M. Venkatesh.

Mr. Venkatesh told The Hindu that the company would be able to achieve the conversion of existing BS IV quality petrol and diesel facilities entirely into BS VI quality.

The conversion facilitates production of 1.2 MTPA of petrol and 7 MTPA of diesel of BS VI standard. He said the available land in the existing refinery complex would be utilised for the upgrade project by investing about ₹1,810 crore.

As many as 10 diesel production facilities will be upgraded and one new petrol production facility will be set up, he said.

Additional land needed

However, for upgrading the entire diesel production capacity of the refinery into BS VI standard, MRPL requires additional processing units.

Available land within the complex is insufficient and additional land of about 1,050 acres that has been sought from the government will be required for its Phase IV expansion.

With this, another MTPA diesel production unit could be added to the existing capacity, thereby significantly contributing to BS VI diesel to Karnataka and the adjoining States, Mr. Venkatesh said.

While BS VI quality fuel should be available at fuel stations by April 1, 2020, the preparatory works have to start immediately.

Soon after completion of construction activities, MRPL should switch over to BS VI production by October 2019, and will start testing the products. The new facility should be commissioned before December 2019, and production should start by January 1, 2020. Oil marketing companies will start getting supply of upgraded fuel, thereafter which it should be available in pumps from April 1, 2020, Mr. Venkatesh explained.

BS VI norms by the Union government seek to regulate air pollutants’ output from internal combustion engines, including motor vehicles. Emission from vehicles depends on the fuel used and emission standards are prescribed to regulate the same. At present, BS IV norms are applicable across the country.

BS VI fuels come with extremely low levels of sulphur content at 10 ppm for both petrol and diesel. Sulphur is a major pollutant in vehicle exhaust emission with its oxide causing smog.

India will join the U.S., Japan and the European Union by switching over to BS VI standards, which is equivalent to Euro Stage VI.

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