IOC's synthetic rubber unit at Panipat dedicated to nation

Indian Oil Corporation, jointly with TSRC Corporation of Taiwan and Marubeni Corporation of Japan, has set up a synthetic rubber (styrene butadiene rubber) plant at Panipat, Haryana.

The project, completed at an estimated cost of Rs958 crore, is designed to produce 120 kilo tonnes per annum (KTA) of high quality styrene butadiene rubber.

Dedicating India's first state-of-the-art SBR plant to the nation on Saturday, petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily described it as a milestone achievement.

The project will help save precious foreign exchange by producing E-SBR, for which the country is looking at other countries, he said.

SBR, which has superior processing properties like flexing resistance, tear and cracking resistance, improved abrasive resistance, etc, is used in the production of various products like tyres, conveyor belts, hose, shoe soles, industrial goods, etc.

The project is considered a path breaking venture of national importance as there is no operating capacity in the country and the entire domestic demand is met through imports.

The joint venture project implemented under the banner of Indian Synthetic Rubber Ltd (ISRL), and utilise butadiene from IndianOil's naphtha cracker complex at Panipat.

Commissioning of this project would significantly contribute to foreign exchange savings and also generation of employment opportunities in the state.

Moily also expressed satisfaction that IndianOil has made full use of the liberalisation and globalisation by expanding its wings and has emerged as the largest commercial organisation of the country.

IndianOil has moved forward in its hydrocarbon value chain by entering the petrochemical industry and, within a few years, has become a key player in petrochemical industry.

ISRL, which is a part of the integrating petrochemical value chain, will also enhance the value of IndianOil's naptha cracker at Panipat.

Synthetic rubber consumption in the country has increased due to the rapid industrialisation of the Indian economy.

The tyre sector is the largest end-user for synthetic rubber in India. Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), which accounts for 40 per cent of the total synthetic rubber demand, is consumed mostly in the tyre sector. As the tyre production in India is increasing at a fast pace, consumption of synthetic rubber has also increased simultaneously.

The SBR facility was planned in the backdrop of the increasing demand for synthetic rubber and to reduce India's import dependency.

With grass-root refineries at Paradip (15 million metric tonnes per annum) and NOCL (6 mmtpa) and expansion of some of the existing refineries, the total refining capacity is expected to touch around 271.2 MMTPA by the end of the 12th Plan. Further, it is expected to go up to 332.9 MMTPA at the end of 13th Plan, Moily stated.

India, he said, is already on the POL export map. The country exported 63.4 million tonnes during 2012-13, recording a growth of 5 per cent over 2011-12.

India's refining sector is also set for major capacity expansion and debottlenecking of its existing refineries. The product yields are also being realigned to meet ever increasing environmental norms for auto/industrial fuels and projected demand for various distillates and also to improve the GRMs.

The actual consumption of petroleum products during 2012-13 was 155 MMTPA. The domestic demand of petroleum products is projected to increase to about 187 MMTPA by 2016-17.

In upstream sector, Moily said his task is clearly cut out and since day one stating, ''I have started working towards strengthening the E&P sector, removing bottlenecks, improving investor sentiment and bringing in necessary reforms so that we gradually move towards self reliance.''

He stressed that it is not an easy task and said, ''People have disbelief and apprehensions about my vision of achieving import independence by the year 2030, but I have full faith that this can be achieved. I often say and I will repeat again, first we should mine our mind, petroleum mining will automatically follow.

"I refuse to believe that India does not have enough resources, we may not be endowed like Middle East countries, but I am fairly confident that if we can nurture and nourish our E&P sector properly, we can very well take care of at least our own requirement.''