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Indian Oil ready for petrochem big leap

New Delhi, Oct. 17: Having lost IPCL to Reliance Industries in the divestment sweepstakes, national oil major Indian Oil Corporation is all set to take a big leap into the petrochemicals sector and double the capacity of its Panipat refinery from 6 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes.

The total investment involved in the twin projects, to be launched by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the historic town tomorrow, will be to the tune of Rs 9,269 crore.

The setting up of Rs 5,104 crore petrochem project will see Panipat emerging as IOCís first fully integrated complex from crude oil refining to petrochemicals. It will mark a major step by the Fortune 500 company towards forward integration in the hydrocarbon value chain by manufacturing paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) from naphtha. The project is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2005.

Paraxylene and PTA are used to produce polyester staple fibre and polyester filament yarn which are used to make textiles as well as other products such as video and audio tapes.

The unit is also expected to have a multiplier effect in leading the way for setting up high quality plastic and life-style products.

The PTA plant will be the single largest unit in India with a world scale capacity of 553 TMTPA which will enable it to achieve economies of scale and lower costs of production. It will also be among the most technologically advanced plants in south-east Asia.

The doubling of the capacity of the Panipat refinery at a cost of Rs 4,165 crore will enable IOC to meet the growing demand in the north and north-west of the country.

The use of the latest technology is expected to enable IOC to meet the stringent Euro III and Euro IV fuel norms which have to be introduced in the country.

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