Oil marketing PSU Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is keen to develop its existing refinery in West Bengal's Haldia into a petrochemicals complex for “sustaining operations profitably”, a company official said on Wednesday.
Running a standalone refinery is “not sustainable in terms of profitability” for which it has to be supplemented by a petrochemicals complex, he said.
"We want to set up a petrochemicals complex contiguous to the Haldia refinery whose current capacity is 8.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa)", the company official said.
IOC has sought land from Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation (HFC), whose factory is lying defunct, for developing the petrochemicals complex, he said.
"We have sought 175 acres of land from HFC. It is near the refinery and it has been given on lease by Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers. We are seeking the land for the petrochemicals project", the IOC official said.
Drawing an analogy, the official said the Paradip refinery of IOC has been turned into a petroleum, chemicals, and petrochemicals investment region (PCPIR).
"The Paradip refinery has a capacity of 15 mtpa and has numerous petrochemicals units around it. This gives better profitability margins to the Paradip operations. This is the same thing which IOC wants to replicate at Haldia", he added.
According to the official, the capacity of a petrochemical project depends on the quantity of feedstock, which is naphtha, coming from the refinery.
He said the land is also required for safety purposes as the refinery complex at Haldia has become congested.
To a query, the IOC official said that “discussions have been held with HDC several times but nothing is fructified so far”.
An official of HDC said "the land could only be used for port-related usage like facilitating export-import cargo. We have already stated this to the concerned authorities at the Centre".
In a recent visit of Rameswar Teli, the minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, at the Haldia refinery, he said IOC had apprised him of the issue regarding the HFC land.
While the Paradip refinery complex is built on 5,000 acres, the Haldia unit is located on 640 acres, the IOC official added.