Reliance commissions world’s biggest refinery

India added on to its petroleum exporting capability with the start of Reliance Petroleum Ltd's export-only refinery today at Jamnagar. With its commissioning, the country's refining capacity jumps to 178 million tonne per annum (MTPA) compared with its annual demand of 129 MTPA.

"RPL commenced its crude processing on December 25. The secondary processing units are now under synchronisation and commissioning," RPL said in a press release. The 29-million tonne crude oil throughput refinery is located in a special economic zone from where only exports are permissible. Its commissioning makes Jamnagar the biggest oil refining hub in the world with an aggregate capacity of 1.24 million barrels of oil per day in any single location. The new unit is adjacent to RPL's existing 33 MTPA export-oriented refinery.

"The entire refinery complex is expected to attain full capacity shortly," said RPL without giving a specific date. The SEZ refinery was completed in 36 months and has a Nelson complexity index of 14 enabling it to process cheaper heavy and sour crudes to produce petrol and diesel complaint to Euro-IV emission norms. This is noteworthy as the refineries are located on the west coast, at close proximity to the Middle East where most crudes are heavy or sour. The nearness to the world's largest crude exporter would result in lower ship turnaround time and lower crude freight, said RPL.

US energy major Chevron Corp holds 5 per cent equity in the refinery.

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