refinery Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL), the downstream subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is planning to make an investment to the tune of Rs 31,073 crore to undertake expansion.

MRPL will expand its 16 million tpa refinery to 18 million tpa and focus on integration of production streams for petrochemicals like ethylene, propylene and butane.

The project is currently facing challenges including processing of heavier and sulphur rich crude, strict environmental regulations, enhanced product specifications for sulphur and aromatics, evolving regional supply and demand dynamics for diesel versus petrol, among others.

MRPL also plans to undertake capacity expansion of its second crude oil distillation unit (CDU) from 7.2 million tpa currently to 9.7 million tpa, conversion of visbreaker (VBU) into a 0.7 million tpa CDU for swing operations for processing high sulphur or heavy crude directly and utilisation of CDU-I and CDU-III at present capacities.

The idea is to utilise maximum crude processing capacity available in primary units. MRPL processes over 17 grades of crude and mainly relies on 4,117 kilo tpa of Iran Heavy, Arab Heavy (3,520 kilo tpa), Mangala (2,015 kilo tpa), Das blend (1,245 kilo tpa), Mumbai High (1,100 kilo tpa), and Soroosh crude (738 kilo tpa), among others.

The proposed hybrid configuration indicates that the company will increase its reliance on seven crude grades including Arab Heavy (5,000 kilo tpa), Soroosh crude (3,000 kilo tpa), Iran Heavy (2,000 kilo tpa), Mangala (2,000 kilo tpa), Arab Light (2,000 kilo tpa), Basrah Light (2,000 kilo tpa), Basrah Heavy (1,500 kilo tpa) and Merey crude (500 kilo tpa).

The company has already started petrochemical production by adding a polypropylene unit and the current refinery complex is integrated to an aromatic complex designed to produce 9,00,000 tpa of paraxylene.

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