The IOCL Gujarat refinery India has been operating since 1965. Image courtesy of Kendash1987.
The IOCL Gujarat refinery has a crude oil processing capacity of 13.7Mtpa. Image courtesy of Stuart Caie.
The IOCL board approved the implementation of a petrochemical and lube integration (LuPech) project at Gujarat refinery in September 2020. Image courtesy of Rongy Benjamin.

The IOCL Gujarat refinery located near Vadodara, Gujarat, India has been in production since 1965. Owned and operated by India’s state-run refining company Indian Oil Corporation, the refinery has a crude oil processing capacity of 13.7 million tonnes a year (Mtpa).

At the time of commissioning, the Gujarat refinery had a processing capacity of 3Mtpa, which was gradually increased through a series of capacity expansion projects and the addition of new units over the years.

The IOCL board approved the implementation of a petrochemical and lube integration (LuPech) project at the Gujarat refinery in September 2020. The project cost is estimated to be approximately £1.87bn ($2.42bn).

The LuPech project involves the capacity expansion of the refinery from 13.7Mtpa to 18Mtpa as well as the installation of a 500,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) polypropylene plant.

The government of Gujarat and IOC entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for investment promotion for executing LuPech project, N-Butanol project, and other infrastructure projects at Gujarat refinery in June 2021.

Location and refinery products

The IOCL Gujarat refinery is located at Koyali, approximately 8km from Vadodara, Gujarat, in western India.

The refinery handles approximately 7.6 million tonnes (Mt) of high sulphur crude and 6.1Mt of low sulphur indigenous crude a year.

The refinery outputs include petrol, diesel, aviation turbine fuel, food-grade hexane, linear alkylbenzene (LAB), bitumen, and coke.

Refinery process modules

The refinery complex comprises five atmospheric distillation units with a total capacity of 13.5Mtpa. The secondary processing facilities include a fluidised catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), a hydrocracking unit (HCU), a diesel hydro-desulphurisation unit (DHDS), a continuous catalytic reforming unit (CCRU), a delayed coking unit (DCU), a vacuum gasoil hydro-treater unit (VGO-HDT), a diesel hydrotreater unit (DHDT), an isomerisation unit (ISOM), hydrogen generation units, as well as aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) Merox units.

Petrochemical and lube integration (LuPech) project

The refinery capacity will be expanded from 13.7Mtpa to 18Mtpa, as well as a 0.5Mtpa polypropylene plant and a 0.27Mtpa lube oil base stock (LOBS) unit will be installed as part of the petrochemical and lube Integration (LuPech) project at the refinery.

The new units to be installed as part of the LuPech project includes a 2.5Mtpa vacuum distillation unit, a 65,000tpa straight run (SR) LPG treater unit, a 2.7Mtpa INDMAX FCCU, a cracked (CR) LPG treater unit, a 0.58Mtpa propylene recovery unit, a 0.5Mtpa polypropylene unit, a 110,000tpa OCTAMAX unit, a 0.8Mtpa naphtha splitter unit, a 0.36Mtpa naphtha hydrotreater unit, a 0.36Mtpa isomerisation unit, a sulphur recovery unit, an amine regeneration unit, a sour water stripper unit, and a 270,000tpa lubricating oil base stock (LOBS) unit.

As part of the project, a 3Mtpa atmospheric distillation unit-5 (AU-V), a hydrocracker unit (HCU), and an FCC BS-VI GDS unit will also undergo revamp, following which the capacity of the AU-V, HCU, and the FCC GDS unit will be increased to 7.3Mtpa, 1.5Mtpa, and 0.7Mtpa respectively.

LAB revamp project

The linear alkylbenzene (LAB) plant at the refinery will be revamped to increase the LAB production capacity from 120,000tpa of to 162,000tpa. The LAB complex that started operations in August 2004 has a kerosene prefractionation unit, a distillate unionfining unit, a molex process unit, a pacol process unit, a pacol enhancement process unit, and a detal process unit.

n-Butanol project

The n-Butanol project involves the installation of an oxo alcohol unit with a capacity to produce 90,000tpa of normal butanol, as well as modification of the existing hydrogen generation unit (HGU-II) for the production of 8,500 Nm3/hr of synthesis gas and 4,300 Nm3/hr of hydrogen.

As part of the project, a 90,000tpa acrylic acid unit and a 150,000tpa butyl acrylate unit will also be installed at Dumad near the Gujarat refinery complex.

Pipeline infrastructure

The 2,660km-long Salaya-Mathura pipeline (SMPL) transports up to 25Mtpa of crude oil from IOCL’s tank farm in Vadinar to the Gujarat, Panipat, and the Mathura refineries. The crude oil from tankers is unloaded by two single-point mooring systems at Vadinar and transported to the onshore tank farm via pipelines.

The 106km-long Dahej-Koyali pipeline, with a capacity of 5Mtpa, is currently under construction to supply LNG from the Petronet LNG terminal in Dahej to the Gujarat refinery.

The 79km-long, 8in-diameter Koyali-Ahmedabad pipeline (KAPL), with a capacity of 1.1Mtpa, transports petroleum products from the Gujarat refinery to the Navagam terminal near Ahmedabad.

The 1644km-long Koyali-Sanganer pipeline (KSPL) with extension up to Panipat via JNPL supplies up to 5Mtpa petroleum products from Koyali refinery.

The 197km-long, 14in-diameter Koyali-Dahej pipeline (KDPL) transports up to 2.6Mtpa of petroleum products from the Gujarat refinery to the Gujarat Chemical Port Terminal Company (GCPTCL) terminal in Dahej, Gujarat, while the 265km-long, 16in-diameter Koyali-Ratlam pipeline (KRPL), with a capacity of 2Mtpa, supplies petroleum products from the Gujarat refinery to the Ratlam terminal.

The 747km-long Koyali-Ahmednagar-Solapur petroleum products pipeline, with a capacity of 5Mtpa, is also currently under construction.

Recently awarded contracts

Technip India (TPIL) bagged a contract to provide project management consultant (PMC) services for the LuPech project at the IOCL Gujarat refinery.

Honeywell UOP was contracted to supply new pressure swing adsorption (PSA) units to the Gujarat, Panipat, and the Mathura refineries, as well as to upgrade the existing hydrogen plants with UOP’s Polybed PSA technology at the Gujarat, Haldia, and the Guwahati refineries in July 2018.

McDermott International was awarded a contract for the license and basic engineering design of a 420,000tpa polypropylene plant in the Gujarat refinery in December 2018.

Lummus Technology’s proprietary NOVOLEN® process reactors and proprietary NHP® catalyst will be provided for this project.