Essar Oil's refinery at Vadinar to shut for three weeks

Vol 11, PW 5 (12 Jul 07) Midstream & Downstream

In the next few days Essar Oil will temporarily shut down its refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat under plans to boost refining capacity from 7.5m t/y to the maximum capacity of 10.5m t/y.

PETROWATCH learns the refinery will be shut down for three weeks beginning July 15th until early August. During the three-week shutdown, Essar will integrate four new items of â€کsecondary’ equipment into the existing refining system.

These new items of equipment are a Fluid Catalytic Conversion Unit, Diesel Hydro Desulphurisation Unit, Amine Regeneration Unit and Sulphur Recovery Unit. After the â€کintegration’ is successfully carried out, the refinery will gradually move to full capacity of 10.5m t/y.

“This will not happen overnight,â€‌ we are told. “It will happen in phases.

This shutdown will be followed by another shutdown some two or three months later during which several other pieces of equipment will be integrated into the refinery.â€‌ One of these will be a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit and the other will be a Fluid Gas Desulphurisation Unit.

The next shutdown, we learn, will last only one week. “All this is part of efforts to â€کoptimise’ Essar’s refining capacity,â€‌ we hear.

Essar’s refinery can produce LPG, naphtha, diesel, vacuum gas oil, jet fuel, kerosene, fuel oil, petrol and reformate - a naphtha-derived high octane liquid. Essar tells us it is doing its best to ensure there will be no shortage of petroleum products during the three-week shutdown.

“Ample stocks are being built up,â€‌ we hear. “There’s absolutely no cause for concern.

â€‌ After the new items of equipment are added during the July shutdown, Essar Oil will be able to produce petrol and diesel to Euro-II and Euro-III grades. Petrol and diesel produced from the refinery are transported by rail and road to Essar petrol stations in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, or exported.

Some 70% of the Essar refinery’s products are exported while the rest is sold in India. Essar Oil had set up 1100 petrol stations mostly in northern and western India, but only 850 are now functioning.

Its petrol stations in southern and eastern India source products from local refiners Mangalore Refinery, Numaligarh Refinery and Indian Oil.