Reliance Industries Ltd., India's largest private sector company with annual revenues in excess of $66 billion, has begun construction of a $12-billion coke gasification plant. The project—located in Jamnagar, in the west Indian state of Gujarat—will be constructed adjacent to the firm's two existing refineries.

The gasification plant is one of the largest such investments worldwide and will start production in 36 months, says an RIL spokesman. "It's definitely very large, but we are still working on the final configuration," he adds.

Utilizing Houston, Texas-based Phillips 66's E-Gas Technology, the plant will gasify petroleum coke to produce fuel and hydrogen for the expanded refinery and petrochemical complexes and captive power plant as well as feedstock for future chemicals production. Phillips 66 will also provide process engineering design and technical support relating to the gasification technology process area. 

Fluor Corp., Irving, Texas, will perform project management and engineering and procurement services for the pet coke gasification project. The scope of services includes petroleum coke gasification units, refinery off-gas cracker and downstream petrochemical plants, a captive power plant, associated utilities and offsites.  "There are always opportunities for suppliers for RIL projects, both from the U.S as also elsewhere," says the spokesman.

E-Gas Technology, utilized in commercial applications since 1987, incorporates a unique gasification system design that can be applied with gas and steam turbine combined-cycle power generation to produce electric power, as well as syngas (synthesis gas) applications for the production of hydrogen and chemicals or substitute natural gas in highly flexible combinations. It is among the cleanest and most efficient commercial technologies for coal or petroleum coke-based electric power generation and syngas production. The refinery complex has an aggregate capacity of 1.3 million barrels of oil per day, according to RIL.  

"Our current capacity of petrochemicals is 15-million tons spread over 10 manufacturing locations in India," said RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani, at the company's recent annual general meeting in Mumbai. "Integration with the refinery at Jamnagar provides us with a unique advantage in sourcing feedstock for further value addition into petrochemicals."

"Our aspiration is to be among the five largest and most profitable petrochemicals producers globally with a diversified portfolio focused on the Indian market," he added.

RIL signed a $2-billion equivalent loan with nine banks covered by Berlin-based Euler Hermes Deutschland AG in May to be used primarily to finance goods and services procured from German suppliers as part of  RIL's petrochemicals expansion projects at Jamnagar, Hazira, Silvassa and Dahej in India. "The better than sovereign assessment by Euler Hermes is a strong testimony of RIL's credit standing in the international markets," says V. Srikanth, RIL's joint chief financial officer.