BPCL to hike refining capacity by 30 per cent

Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, India's third-largest refiner, plans to invest $4 billion to add 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity at its Kochi and Bina plants to increase capacity by about 30 per cent over the next three to four years.

BPCL chairman and chief executive R K Singh told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday that diesel demand in India would grow by around 8-10 per cent this year, but imports could be avoided if all refineries run smoothly.

"If all the refineries are running, there is no turnaround or no technical hitch in the operation of the refineries, I don't think imports are necessary," Singh said on the sidelines of an industry event.

BPCL operates a 240,000 barrels a day refinery at Mumbai and a 190,000 barrels a day refinery at Kochi in Kerala. It has started a new 120,000 barrel a day refinery at Bina in central India. Besides those three, it also has a stake in the Numaligarh refinery in the east, which can process 60,000 barrels of crude a day.

BPCL plans to expand the Kochi refinery to 300,000 bpd from 190,000 bpd, and Bina to 180,000 bpd from 120,000 bpd, Singh said.

BPCL is in the midst of starting up the new Bina plant, and expects the refinery to reach capacity of 120,000 bpd in the next three months, Singh said. The Bina refinery is reportedly having some "teething troubles".