Another 2.4m cm/d wanted for RCF

Vol 14, PW 9 (21 Oct 10) Midstream & Downstream

Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers (RCF) has finally received ‘in-principle’ fertiliser ministry approval to raise production capacity by 1.15m t/y at its Thal factory outside Mumbai.

PETROWATCH learns RCF could need up to 2.4m cm/d of additional gas at Thal, mostly as ‘feedstock’ for urea production. Some could also be used as fuel.

Getting a gas assurance from the government was a foregone conclusion, boasts a RCF source, as the fertiliser sector has “top priority” status for India’s cabinet. But it took time in coming.

“Our request for gas to increase Thal capacity was made about 18 months ago,” says RCF. “We were told only recently that gas will be made available.

” RCF’s Thal factory produces 1.707m t/y of urea using 4m cm/d of gas of which 2.13m cm/d is D6 gas, while the rest is subsidised domestic gas. On August 31 this year, RCF issued tender documents for a ‘Lump Sum Turnkey Contract (LSTK)’ to expand the Thal facilities to four pre-qualified bidders: Saipem; Technip in partnership with L&T; Technimont (Italy) with Technimont (India) and Uhde with Samsung.

RCF and state-owned consultant Projects & Development India (PDIL) held pre-bids in Delhi between September 27 and September 30. Technical and financial bids must be submitted by November 30.

PDIL will evaluate the price bids when they are opened and prepare a feasibility report for the project based on the prices quoted. This document will then be used by the fertiliser ministry to decide if the project should get final approval.

RCF estimates the entire project could cost Rs4200cr ($933m) and wants it completed within 30 months. “Usually, there’s no more than a 5% difference between the preliminary cost estimate and the final numbers,” says RCF.

The selected contractor must construct ammonia and urea factories, ‘cooling towers’ and most of the other necessary “units.”