Reliance says new plant running at about full rate

Reliance says new plant running at about full rate

Gadimoga: Reliance Industries’ new 580,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in western Gujarat state is operating at close to full capacity, executive director P.M.S. Prasad said.

The new plant, next to its old 660,000 bpd refinery, has turned Jamnagar into the world’s largest refining complex, processing 1.24 million bpd.

“We have commissioned all the units and it is operating at almost full capacity," Prasad, who heads Reliance’s upstream and refinery business, told Reuters on Saturday.

Last month Reliance started an 85,000 bpd alkylation unit, the only unit remaining to be started up at the new plant, with the aim of producing petrol to meet tough US and European norms.

Since the start of commercial production at its new plant in mid-March, Reliance’s fuel exports have shifted direction sharply as it has diverted sales from Asia to the Gulf and Europe.

Prasad, who fathered India’s deepest and biggest gas find in the D6 block off India’s east coast, has been working with Reliance since last 28 years and played a key role in backward integration of the petrochemical firm to refinery to exploration.

He managed the old Jamnagar refinery project, which, when started about a decade ago turned India into a net fuel exporter.

And now peak oil and gas output from the D6 block, equivalent to 40% of India’s current production, will reduce crude the import bill of Asia’s third largest oil consumer by 10%.

Cairn Crude

Reliance has been diversifying its crude slate since the commissioning of its new plant in December and tested several new grades to feed its complex refineries. In July its crude imports rose about 65 percent from a year earlier.

Prasad said Reliance’s heavy crude imports would fall by at least 30,000 bpd from next year, when it begins crude purchases from Cairn Energy. Last month Cairn began pumping crude from its Rajasthan block.

Despite producing oil and gas from the D6 block, Reliance meets fuel and feedstock needs for its project via imports as the Indian government has not allowed it to buy its own gas.

It buys 9 million cubic metres a day (mmscmd) of liquefied natural gas and uses liquid fuel for the balance 8 mmscmd.

Reliance is now producing 12,000 bpd from D6 and production would rise to 25,000-30,000 bpd by December, he said.