New Delhi: State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp has commissioned its 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) Bina refinery in central India, its chairman said on Monday, to help meet growing fuel demand in the country.
Indian refiners are expanding capacity as economic growth in the Asian nation boosts sales of cars and motorcycles and as rising affluence increases air travel.
“Last week we commissioned the crude unit and other units at the refinery. Only our hydrocracker is under commissioning, rest of the units are operating smoothly,” R.K. Singh told Reuters.
He said the hydrocracker would be fully commissioned and stabilised in next few days. Bina refinery is operated by Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd, which is majority controlled by BPCL. The plant would initially process Arab Mix crude.
Singh had said earlier this month commercial output from Bina plant would start by 15 February.
The new land-locked plant will ease BPCL’s current need to source products through imports or purchase from other Indian refiners to top up its retail sales requirement to meet the growing fuel demand in Asia’s third-largest oil consumer.
Bina refinery started crude processing in mid-2010, but subsequently shut down as some secondary units were not ready.
India imports fuel to meet local demand, despite having surplus refining capacity, as private firms prefer to export refined products, saying they do not get compensation from the government to sell fuel at subsidised rates.
The last refinery commissioned in India was in end-December 2008, when Reliance Industries began production at its 580,000 bpd refinery at Jamnagar in western India.
India’s refining capacity would rise to 4.8 million bpd by March 2012 from the current 3.7 million bpd.
The Bina refinery has a one-million-tonne-a-year naphtha hydrotreater, half-a-million-tonne continuous catalyst reformer, 1.95-million-tonne hydrocracker, a 1.63-million-tonne diesel hydrotreater and a 1.36-million-tonne delayed coker.
BPCL operates a 240,000-bpd refinery in Mumbai as well as a 190,000-bpd refinery in the southern state of Kerala, run by subsidiary Kochi Refineries Ltd. It also owns a majority stake in a 60,000 bpd refinery in northeast India.