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Asia is structurally short of naphtha and relies on the West and the Middle East to fill most of the gaps.
Reliance aims to import 1.4 million tonnes of ethane from North America in 2017-18 and the imports will rise to 1.6 million tonnes from the next financial year, said Vipul Shah, chief operating officer for petrochemicals at Reliance.
The conglomerate will use ethane at its crackers at Dahej, Hazira and Nagothane in western India. Previously the Dahej and Nagothane plants were running on gas while Hazira was using naphtha as feedstock.
"Since we will be able to bring in 1.4 million tonnes of ethane our operating profit can go up by $300 million this fiscal year," Shah said at a conference.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance has been posting robust petrochemical margins. The company posted a petrochemicals operating profit margin at an all-time high of 15.8 percent in the June quarter, it said last month.
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