India’s plan to have the world’s largest refinery may get delayed by three years with the 60 million tonne (MT) Ratnagiri refinery in Maharashtra expected to come up by 2025.
Land acquisition issues have put work on the Rs3-trillion project in the slow lane. Global majors like Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) have formed a joint venture with state-run oil marketing companies to hold 50 per cent stake in Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals (RRPCL).
Global consulting giant Jacobs has already started working on the configuration of the refinery, which is expected to be 30 per cent for petrochemicals. According to a person close to the development, the project may be commissioned only in 2025, against the initial plan of 2022. This comes after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had told the state assembly in November that his government has stayed land acquisition.
He said that no land acquisition is underway at the site and the state has not issued any direction for acquiring land, dealing a blow to the plans of Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation which were spearheading the project.
Based on the revised plan, land acquisition will be completed by the end of 2019 and a final investment decision will be in place by January 2020. “In a decade, we are expecting around $300 billion investment in the country’s oil and gas sector. Out of this, around $40 billion is going to come from West Coast refinery in which Adnoc and Saudi Aramco will be our partners,” said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, while addressing a KPMG summit in Delhi on Tuesday. However, he did not respond to questions related to land acquisition woes that the project is facing.
Shiv Sena, a key ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was against the project citing that it will affect the ecology of the coastal Konkan region and is against farmer interest. “With demand set to increase rapidly, the country will miss an opportunity if the project is not going to happen,” said B Ashok, chief executive officer, RRPCL.
Aramco is expected to supply about 50 per cent of the crude for the project, along with technology. The refinery may process 1.2 million barrels of crude oil a day and produce around 18 MT of petrochemical products annually.
The project was touted to increase the country’s GDP by around 2 per cent and state GDP by 12 per cent. The foreign players are likely to ensure continuous crude supply and expertise of multiple oil companies that have an established commercial presence around the world.
Based on a pre-feasibility study conducted by Engineers India, the major objective of the project include maximising the use of competitive indigenous technologies for production of BS-VI fuel.