Undeterred by critics GAIL moves ahead at Usar

Vol 22, PW 4 (29 Nov 18) People & Policy

Despite lingering controversy in a technology provider tender, GAIL is forging ahead with plans to invest Rs7750cr ($1.2bn) in a new petrochemicals complex at its defunct LPG recovery plant at Usar in Maharashtra.

By next month (December) or January (2019) GAIL is planning a mandatory public hearing to clear the project which it expects to commission by 2025-26, "once all approvals are in place by end-2019," says a GAIL source. With two 500 kilo-tonne/year propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene units, GAIL wants to convert propane in the first unit to propylene, used to produce plastic products like films used in packing, woven sacks, fibres and filaments, as well as in injection moulding and thermoforming, a manufacturing process where plastic sheets are heated to give a specific shape in a mould for the packages of different products.

"Our in-house studies found demand for these products rising," GAIL tells us. "Also we would like to put to productive use our infrastructure (at the Usar recovery facility) which is idle."

As reported in our November 15 edition, GAIL is in the spotlight over accusations it is backing German technology provider Lummus Novolen for a polypropylene unit despite the recommendations of junior managers at project consultant Engineers India who believe it is unsuited for the project and has failed to show a direct line of credit to support its working capital.