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Thursday, Oct 16, 2003

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Kochi Refineries on modernisation path

G.K. Nair

Kochi , Oct. 15

THE detailed feasibility report (DFR) for the second phase of modernisation of Kochi Refineries Ltd (KRL), upgradation of auto fuels to Euro III quality and capacity expansion to 10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) involving a total investment of Rs 2,000 crore have been completed and the company would now go for technology selection.

Engineers India Ltd (EIL), which was entrusted with the job has done the study and submitted the DFR late last month, Mr M.A. Mohammedali, Director (Refineries), told Business Line. Meanwhile, the first stage of quality up-gradation to Euro II at a cost of Rs 273 crore would be completed by the end of next year, he said.

He said that KRL had prepared a road map to modernise the refinery to meet fuel quality requirements by 2005 and 2010 as mandated by the Union Government, and to reduce the cost of production to enhance competitiveness. "We have looked into the possibility of low cost expansion of crude oil refining capacity, commensurate with market demand, by revamp of existing units," he said. Axens of France, an international consultant, had prepared an optimum process configuration of units to meet this objective in stages and established that a capacity expansion of the refinery from the existing 7.5 MTPA to 10 MTPA is economically attractive, he said.

Though the completion of the total project is targeted for 2010, KRL would take up a few upgradation proposals, like schemes to reduce fuel consumption, yield improvement of value-added products like LPG and petrol etc., early depending on the financial viability and market requirements, Mr Mohammedali said.

The DFR for the proposed new crude oil receipt facilities capable of receiving very large crude carriers of capacity up to 3.2 lakh tonnes, at Puthuvypeen with in the jurisdiction of the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) has also been completed by EIL now, he said. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 700 crore but "we are working on this to revise the cost to the minimum," he pointed out. The facilities would consist of a Single Buoy Mooring (SBM) about 18 km off the coast, a tank farm at Puthuvypeen to receive crude oil and lines connecting SBM, tank farm and refinery, he said. A public hearing, a pre-requisite for getting environmental clearance is fixed for November 13. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2006, he said.

KRL, he said, now exports furnace oil to Singapore for want of sufficient domestic market. Besides, naphtha and diesel are also exported. But, the tariff barriers are making the exports non-profitable, he added.

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