Rashtriya Chemicals waiting for 2.6m cm/d from GAIL

Vol 11, PW 19 (07 Feb 08) Midstream & Downstream

By then GAIL should have begun pumping an additional 2.6m cm/d to the company’s two fertiliser factories in the suburbs of Thal and Trombay.

RCF is already talking to GAIL for the additional gas, most likely R-LNG from either Shell or Petronet-LNG, which it hopes will reach its two plants in nine months from now through two spur lines from the newly laid Dahej to Dabhol gas transmission pipeline that passes through Hazira and Uran. One spur line is being laid from the GAIL â€کtap-off’ at Haji Malangwadi to RCF’s Trombay plant; the second begins at the Ambewadi â€کtap-off’ and goes via Usar village to end at RCF’s plant in Thal.

Gas shortage in Maharashtra is nothing new: RCF’s predicament mirrors other gas consumers in and around the Mumbai region - unable to produce at full capacity because of scarcity of supply. RCF’s ammonia and urea plants at Trombay need 1.9m cm/d to produce at full capacity, but receive only 1.1m cm/d – a shortfall of 800,000 cm/d.

At Thal, RCF’s urea and ammonia plants receive only 1.8m cm/d but need 4.2m cm/d - a shortfall of 2.4m cm/d. Unsurprisingly the 3.2m cm/d shortfall is having a damaging effect on overall fertiliser production: RCF’s 330,000 t/y urea production facility at Trombay sits idle for lack of feedstock; two ammonia factories at Trombay are likewise under-utilised.

One of them, with a capacity to produce 380,000 t/y, is producing only 292,000 t/y; the other, with a capacity to produce 128,000 t/y, is completely shut down. Only at Thal is RCF producing to full capacity, but at a high cost: its 1.7m t/y urea facility and two ammonia facilities, totalling 1.1m t/y, both run on expensive naphtha, together consuming approximately 1600 tonnes a day.

Today, RCF has no choice but to use naphtha, but in October that will change when GAIL starts pumping an additional 2.6m cm/d to the company's facilities at Thal and Trombay.