Air Products has signed a long-term agreement with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) to build, own, and operate several new industrial gas production facilities in Kochi, Kerala, India.

The new industrial gas complex will provide hydrogen, syngas, nitrogen and oxygen for BPCL’s Kochi Refinery and its proposed petrochemicals complex.

The Kochi Refinery is currently undergoing a $2.6bn integrated expansion project that will increase its crude refining capacity to 15.5 million metric tons per annum (approximately 310,000 barrels per day).

The new industrial gas facilities will support India’s largest-ever outsourced hydrogen requirement and will result in Air Products’ first hydrogen production facilities in India.

Late 2015 is targeted for the initial supply of gases, as part of a phased on-stream set-up for the products supplied to BPCL’s refinery.

Howard Castle-Smith, Regional Vice-President, Tonnage Gases Europe, Middle East, Africa and India, reflected, “This important investment supports Air Products’ commitment to the Indian market and will help to make BPCL’s Kochi Refinery the largest and most viable public sector refinery in the country.”

“The agreement also supports Air Products’ strategy of supplying refineries with industrial gases as they continue to expand, and also as new grassroots refineries are built to meet growing energy demand. Once on-stream, this location will become a benchmark reference facility in the region and demonstrate our technological and operational excellence.”

Value-added

Under the agreement, Air Products will provide a combination of the following plant technologies:

  • Two steam methane reformer (SMR) trains combining to produce approximately 16.4 tonnes per hour of hydrogen to be used in the production of cleaner burning transportation fuels and petrochemicals
  • A cryogenic syngas purification system to produce syngas, a mixture of purified hydrogen and carbon monoxide
  • Steam generated from Air Products’ units for BPCL’s manufacturing process
  • An air separation unit to produce nitrogen and oxygen for the refinery and petrochemical complex
  • A gas turbine to produce power for the Air Products facilities.

These efforts and other productivity improvements will help to improve the BPCL Kochi Refinery’s conversion of heavy crude, allowing for the production of clean fuels to meet Euro IV/V specifications.

It will also position BPCL and the petrochemicals facility for diversification into higher value-added petrochemicals.

It is understood that
the new hydrogen facilities will be built through the global hydrogen alliance between Air Products and Technip, a partnership that has provided the global refining industry with competitive technology and world-class safety for over 20 years.