India’s Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is proceeding with its investment of U$1.5 billion for setting up a petrochemical unit at its Kochi refinery in Kerala. It will produce polyols, propylene glycol and mono ethylene glycol.
BPCL’s Kochi refinery at its recent expansion to 15.5 million tonnes capacity produces 500,000 tonnes of polymer grade propylene.
Half of this propylene is utilised for manufacturing of niche/specialty petrochemicals like acrylic acid, oxo alcohol and acrylates, which find applications in areas like paints and coatings, adhesives and solvents.
BPCL also plans to produce value added petrochemicals.
While polyether polyols are used to make polyurethane foams, coatings and adhesives, propylene glycol is used in the manufacture of fibreglass-reinforced plastics, cosmetics, lubricants, sufactants in dyes and humectants for food products.
Mono ethylene glycol (MEG) is used in packaging, films and textile fibres.
BPCL believes petrochemicals market in India is fast growing and profitable with open market pricing with a hedge for refining.
“Combined refinery-petrochemical complexes can be best option for global competitive advantage, due to availability of low cost feed stock from the refinery,” it said in the project’s preliminary feasibility report.
Currently, there is limited production of polyols/propylene glycol (PG) in India due to limited availability of an important intermediate propylene oxide (PO), which requires propylene feedstock.
“The niche propylene derivatives petrochemical project offers an attractive opportunity for BPCL for utilising the balance polymer grade propylene feedstock from Kochi facility to meet this demand for niche petrochemicals,” it said. “The proposed project will be a self contained facility and will be set up contiguous to the Kochi Refinery of BPCL, in order to achieve synergies of integration with feedstock source, a vital element in the success of a project,” the company added.