New Delhi: Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) is likely to process 9.5% less crude at its two key refineries in the next fiscal year beginning April compared with this year, due to planned shutdowns, its director of refineries said on Thursday.
“Next year, our throughput at Mumbai and Kochi will be less than the nameplate capacity because we have to take a shutdown at Kochi to raise capacity and at Mumbai it would be a maintenance shutdown,” R.K. Singh said in an interview.
BPCL runs a 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Mumbai, and another 150,000bpd refinery in Kochi in Kerala. Its subsidiary, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd, runs a 60,000bpd refinery in Assam, where processing depends on crude availability.
In the current fiscal, BPCL hopes to process 260,000bpd at Mumbai and 160,000bpd at Kochi. But in the next fiscal, it plans to process 230,000bpd at Mumbai and 150,000bpd at Kochi, Singh said.
BPCL will shut half of its Mumbai refinery for 35 days for maintenance turnaround in December-January, he said, adding two separate shutdowns are needed at Kochi to raise its capacity by 40,000bpd.
BPCL will shut a 60,000bpd crude distillation unit at Kochi refinery for 25 days from March 12, curtailing its output to 60-65% during that time. “We will do some provision for tying additional units during this month’s shutdown. Actual finishing work will be done in next shutdown of similar duration in early 2009,” he said.
During the shutdown that will begin next week, some secondary units at the refinery will run at 60% capacity. The firm is also planning to set up a 0.84-million-tonne continuous catalytic reformer as part of an upgrading programme.
BPCL is expanding its crude storage capacity to diversify its crude basket and earn better margins by processing cheaper heavy grades, Singh said.
“If I have more tankage, I can bring different kinds of crude and do blending in my refinery. In the spot market I can go and buy cheaper, heavier crude and blend it with superior quality and in the process I may save cost,” he said.
It plans to add 65,000 tonnes crude tankage capacity at its Kochi import facility, after recently commissioning three tankages of similar capacity. Its refinery can store up to 520,000 tonnes. At Mumbai, BPCL plans to raise crude storage by 16% to 540,000 tonnes by early 2009.
It also plans to have storage capacity of up to 450,000 tonnes at its planned mooring facility in Gujarat, where it aims to import crude for its proposed 120,000bpd refinery at Bina in Madhya Pradesh.
India, Asia’s third-largest oil consumer, plans to add 2.14 million bpd to its existing 2.98 million bpd nameplate capacity by 2012 as it seeks to become a global refining hub, taking advantage of its proximity to oil sources and emerging markets.