India approves HPCL’s expansion plan for Visakh refinery

India has granted Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) environmental clearance to proceed with a project to expand and modernize its 8.3 million-tonne/year Vishakapatnam (Visakh) refinery in Andhra Pradesh, on the country’s eastern coast.

Following a series of hearings on the proposal that date back to 2014, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (EFCC) approved HPCL’s Visakh refinery modernization project (VRMP) at a Dec. 17, 2015, committee meeting in New Delhi, according to EAC documents recently posted to EFCC’s web site.

A brownfield project, VRMP will include both installation of new units and revamps of existing units to expand the Visakh refinery’s processing capacity by 6.7 million tpy to 15 million tpy, as well as boost its production of low-sulfur fuels that conform to Euro 4 and Euro 5 quality standards.

According to EFCC, HPCL will add the following new units and capacities as part of the project:

• A 9 million-tpy crude distillation unit (CDU), which will replace one of Visakh’s three existing CDUs.

• A 3.3 million-tpy vacuum gas oil hydrocracker.

• A 290,000-tpy naphtha isomerization unit.

• A 3.1 million-tpy solvent deasphalting unit.

• A 2.5 million-tpy slurry hydrocracker.

• A 96-tonne/day propylene recovery unit.

• Two 113,000-tpy hydrogen generation units (226,000 tpy total).

• Two 360-tonne/day sulfur recovery units (720 tonnes/day total, including tail gas treatment).

• A 36,000-tpy fuel gas pressure-swing adsorption unit.

• A 300-tonne/hr nonhydroprocessing sour-water stripper.

• A 185-tonne/hr hydroprocessing sour-water stripper.

• Two 540-tonne/hr amine regeneration units (1,080 tonnes/hr total).

• A 112,000-tpy sulfur recovery LPG treating unit.

• A 1,000 cu m/hr integrated effluent treatment plant (EFP), which will replace all existing EFPs at the site.

HPCL has yet to reveal definitive timelines for the start of expansion-related construction or possible commissioning of the completed project.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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