Reliance announces maintenance shut-down at Hazira cracker unit

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has announced a 4-week a planned shutdown at its Hazira cracker unit, starting from the last week of September 2014.

This opportunity will be utilised to carry out other routine maintenance and turnaround activities to enhance productivity.

RIL said its cracker units at other locations will continue at normal levels of operations and that with advance planning and inventory management, impact on external sales will be minimal.

Meanwhile, Reliance Industries hopes to save about $450 million annually by importing 1.5 million tones of ethane from US for its petrochemical plant, says a report.

Imported ethane will substitute its current propane imports and a portion of naphtha used for ethylene production.

"Given depressed US ethane prices and rising production, we estimate an annual saving of $450 million from this feedstock substitution from FY18," brokerage house CLSA said in a research report.

Reliance recently announced its plans to import 1.5 million tons per annum of ethane from North America which will be used as a feedstock in its existing crackers in India.

The company has executed storage and capacity agreements for liquefaction of ethane with a North American terminal and has also ordered six VLECs (Very Large Ethane Carriers) for transporting ethane to India.

Imports could start from end-2016.

CLSA said, "While propane is a globally traded commodity, trade of ethane is a relatively new trend as it needs very low temperatures (minus 89 degrees Celsius) to be maintained."

Reliance's current ethylene capacity stands at about 1.9 million tons per annum. Of this, 0.8 million ton (40 per cent) is gas (C2-C3) based while the remaining uses naphtha as a feedstock.