• HPCL, GAIL to divest up to 50% stake in petrochem plant in Andhra Pradesh

    Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and gas utility GAIL India Ltd will divest up to 50 per cent stake in the Rs 300 billion petrochemical plant which is being set up in Andhra Pradesh. HPCL and GAIL are looking at setting up a 1 million tons Ethylene Derivatives plant, which will produce a wide range of petrochemical raw materials for the manufacture of detergents, paints and coatings, cosmetics, textiles and adhesives.

    “Currently, it is a 50:50 project but we are open to inducting a strategic partner,” HPCL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh K Surana told here. The project at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, will cost Rs 300 billion. “We are willing to give up to 50 per cent stake in the project to the strategic partner,” he said. Some global petro hem companies have shown interest in the project but talks are at preliminary stage currently, he said without disclosing details.

    The planned project is a truncated version of the earlier proposed refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex in Andhra Pradesh. HPCL has for the timebeing shelved plans to build a new refinery and is only pursuing petrochemical project. HPCL and GAIL decided to do the petrochem plan together after their plans to team up with France’s Total, Lakshmi N Mittal Group and Oil India Ltd (OIL) for a 15 million tonnes a year refinery-cum-petrochemical plant at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh fell through.

    “That project fell as partners pulled out one after the other due to weak global demand,” another official said. “Now, HPCL and GAIL are looking at setting up a petrochemical plant at the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) sites identified by the state government at Kakinada.” Surana said currently detailed feasibility report (DFR) is being prepared and details will work out following that.

    HPCL owns a 7.5 million tons refinery at Mumbai and a 8.3 million tons unit at Vizag. While the Vizag plant is being expanded to 15 million tons, HPCL is expanding the Mumbai refinery to 9.5 million tons at a cost of Rs 40 billion by 2019, he said. Vizag refinery will also be expanded to 15 million tons by 2020 at a cost of Rs 209.28 billion. It has also setting up a 9 million tons refinery at Barmer in Rajasthan at the cost of Rs 373.20 billion. But the project hinges on the state government giving fiscal incentives, he said.

    HPCL had in 2007-08 planned an only-for-exports refinery to target demand in South East Asia and the Middle East. The five-way alliance of HPCL, explorer OIL, gas utility GAIL India, Mittal Investment Sarl and Total had in October 2007 signed a memorandum of understanding to look at the feasibility of setting up the Vizag project. In 2009, the Rs 500 billion project was put on hold as petrochemical demand then was seen as too weak to justify the investment. Total did pre-feasibility for the refinery project and demand studies, while GAIL was in charge of the study of the petrochemical unit. But the project was in 2010 put on back burner before equity structure could be decided
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