BPCL buys 3.6 mn barrels Arab Mix for new plant

BPCL buys 3.6 mn barrels Arab Mix for new plant

New Delhi: India’s Bharat Petroleum Corp has contracted 0.5 million tonnes, or about 3.6 million barrels, of Arab Mix crude from Saudi Aramco to start its Bina refinery, a company official said on Tuesday.

“Plant will be commissioned in March. We have already lined up 0.5 million tonnes crude from Saudi Arabia," said U. N. Joshi, managing director of Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd, the firm that is building the 120,000 barrels per day plant in central India.

He said Saudi Arabia would supply the crude in three to four parcels. “The first parcel will arrive in November for our SPM (single point mooring) and tankages," Joshi told Reuters.

BPCL has built 8 crude tanks at Vadinar port in western Gujarat state and three at the refinery, each with a capacity to store 60,000 tonnes of crude, he said, adding the plant would be commissioned after testing tanks and pipeline links.

BPCL has an annual term contract with Saudi Aramco to buy about 80,000 bpd, and Joshi said supplies for the Bina plant would be in addition to the existing contract.

BPCL is the third biggest buyer of Saudi crude in India after private sector Reliance Industries Ltd and another state-run refiner Indian Oil Corp.

He said the refinery was designed to process Arab Mix crude, comprising 65% Arab Light and 35% Arab Heavy.

“Initially we will be processing Arab Mix but later we can look for other crudes also," Joshi said.

He said Bina refinery would cater to local demand as it is a “land-locked’ plant. The new plant will ease BPCL’s current need to source products through imports or purchases from other Indian refiners to top up retail sales requirements.

The head of BPCL, Ashok Sinha, in June told Reuters that gas oil would make up 47% of refinery output, gasoline and jet fuel 10% each and liquefied petroleum gas 3%.

“There will be no bottom products, no black oil. We will have some pet coke that we will use for our captive power plant," Joshi said.

According to the company’s website, Bina refinery would produce Euro III and Euro IV compliant fuel to match the new norms that would come into effect in India from April 2010.

The Euro IV specifications are being enforced from April 2010 in 11 big cities that currently sell Euro III fuels. The rest of the country, where fuels of lower standards are sold, will upgrade to Euro III.

BPCL runs a 240,000 bpd Mumbai refinery in western India and a 190,000 bpd Kochi plant in Southern India.

Besides its Mumbai and Kochi refineries, it also operates a 60,000-bpd plant in northeast India through a subsidiary, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd.