Petrotahlil - State-controlled Indian refiner Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) has indefinitely delayed two petrochemical projects at Kochi on the country's southwest coast because of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Commissioning of a 55bn rupees ($740mn) specialty petrochemicals plant at the company's 310,000 b/d Kochi refinery has been further delayed. The project, which will produce 160,000 t/yr of acrylic acid, 212,000 t/yr of oxo alcohols, and acrylates, had been due to start up in October 2019 but was then pushed back to April-September this year.
The project is mechanically complete but commissioning has been delayed indefinitely. The Europe-based technology licence holders need to be physically present during commissioning but are unable to attend because India has barred international travel until at least 31 August. It will take three months from the start of foreign travel to commission the plant, BPCL said.
The Kochi refinery produces 500,000 t/yr of propylene, half of which will feed the propylene derivatives unit while the rest will supply a proposed polypropylene facility.
The pandemic has also delayed construction of a Rs111bn specialty petrochemicals plant to produce polyols. This plant has also been delayed because the technology licence holders are in Europe, BPCL said. The project at Kochi, which has not progressed beyond the design stage, was earlier scheduled for completion in 2024.
India has the world's fastest growing Covid-19 case count. More than 64,000 new cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total to over 2.4mn and making India the world's third-most infected nation behind the US and Brazil.
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Source : Argus