GAIL uses 'magic tricks' to source gas for Pata

Vol 15, PW 6 (22 Sep 11) Midstream & Downstream

Sounds like a magic trick, but GAIL has found a novel way to double gas feedstock for its Pata petrochemical complex in Uttar Pradesh without diverting supplies from other facilities.

GAIL wants to expand Pata’s petrochemical production capacity from 410,000 t/y to 810,000 t/y by December 2014, and for this it needs to double Pata’s gas requirement to 26m cm/d. GAIL already sources 13m cm/d of ‘rich gas’ for Pata from Bassein and the Panna, Mukta and Tapti oil and gasfields offshore Mumbai.

But sourcing additional gas for Pata is challenging with declining domestic gas production. So GAIL plans to extract the necessary additional feedstock from gas it is transporting to other customers through its 610-km transmission pipeline from Dahej in Gujarat to Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh.

“We are setting up a C-2 (ethane) and C-3 (propane) extraction unit at Vijaipur,” explains a GAIL source. “Instead of sourcing additional gas for Pata we will simply extract C-2 and C-3 feedstock from 13m cm/d of ‘rich gas’ meant for other customers who can take the ‘lean’ gas instead.

” GAIL approved its estimated Rs8140cr ($1.7bn) Pata expansion project on August 2 last year, and appointed Engineers India as its project consultant and ‘licensee’ for the ‘gas processing’ and ‘gas sweetening’ units. Los Angeles-headquartered The Shaw Group is the licensee for the upcoming ‘gas cracker’ unit, while fellow US-based Univation Technologies is ‘licensee’ for the ‘gas-based processor’ unit.

GAIL commands over 20% of India’s growing petrochemicals market. At Pata, it extracts C-2 and C-3 from the ‘rich’ gas it receives to produce ethylene, further cracked to produce polyethylene.

GAIL further extracts different grades of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to sell in bulk to customers who manufacture plastics, furniture, suitcases and pipes.