Air pollution forces IOC to change Koyali plans

Vol 18, PW 10 (15 Jan 15) Midstream & Downstream

Shockingly high air pollution levels plaguing Delhi and other big Indian cities have forced IndianOil to concentrate on producing cleaner petrol and diesel.

In Gujarat at the 13.7m t/y Koyali refinery IndianOil has abandoned plans to expand capacity to 18m t/y and is focusing instead on producing high quality BS-IV fuels with a Rs1800cr ($288m) programme to upgrade four major hydrotreating units, including the Diesel Hydrotreating Unit (DHDT), Diesel Hydro-Desulphurisation Unit (DHDS) and the Vacuum Gas Oil Hydrotreating Unit. IOC wants to drastically lower sulphur content in the diesel Koyali produces from 350 parts per million (ppm) to just 50 ppm.

For petrol it wants sulphur levels to drop from 150 ppm to 50 ppm. Underlining the urgency of upgrading to BS-IV is air quality data released by the US embassy in Delhi.

As US President Barack Obama prepares to visit Delhi as guest of honour at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26 Delhi’s air quality index is a shocking 252, or “very unhealthy”, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, which predicts “significant aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardio-pulmonary disease and the elderly; and significant respiratory effects in the general population.” Today Delhi has overtaken Beijing as the world’s most polluted city, according to the World Health Organisation.