Maximization of transportation fuels while processing heavy crude oils and minimizing products with negative cracks are ways for refiners to improve margins and profitability. In the process, if one can also expand capacity, improve quality of motor fuels and integrate with petrochemicals to manage risks, then such a project would transform the refinery into an integrated and balanced enterprise. Further, in this dream project, the gas utility molecules required for refinery and petrochemicals are to be sourced from a third party supplier, thereby reducing overall capital cost, improving efficiency and tightly integrating the overall complex.

This paper outlines the objectives and considerations for selection of configuration of the USD 3.0 Billion "Integrated Refinery Expansion Project" (IREP) of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in India at its 190,000 BPSD Kochi Refinery located in Kerala. The paper will also outline the USD 700 Million "Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project", (PDPP) which will utilize feedstock from IREP, and the "Build, Own, Operate" Contract for supply of gas utility molecules to IREP and PDPP.

The selected configuration for the 120,000 BPSD IREP, targets to improve the Nelson Complexity Factor of the refinery to more than 10, through building capability to process 100% heavy crude oils, upgradation of bottom of the barrel, building flexibility to maximize either Gasoline or Gasoil based on demand, and production of Propylene for manufacture of three niche import-substitutes chemicals. A well-designed "over the fence supply" contract for gas utility molecules ensures that varying demands from IREP and PDPP for gas utilities are simultaneously met.

The refinery is expected to improve its margins by 60%, on completion of IREP during 2016-17. With the commissioning of PDPP by 2018, margins from the refinery will further increase by another 15%, and opportunities for production of value added end-products open up in southern India based on petrochemicals produced from PDPP.

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