Air Products, the leading global hydrogen provider, today announced it has signed a long-term agreement with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and will build, own, and operate several new industrial gas production facilities in Kochi, Kerala, India.
The new industrial gas complex will provide hydrogen, syngas, nitrogen and oxygen for BPCL’s Kochi Refinery and its proposed petrochemicals complex. The facilities will support India’s largest-ever outsourced hydrogen requirement and will result in Air Products’ first hydrogen production facilities in India. A phased onstream for the products supplied to BPCL’s Kochi Refinery targets late 2015 for the initial supply of gases.
The new facilities will supply industrial gases to BPCL’s Kochi Refinery, which is currently undergoing a $2.6 billion integrated expansion project that will increase its crude refining capacity to 15.5 million metric tons per annum (approximately 310,000 barrels per day). Under the agreement, Air Products will provide an innovative combination of the following plant technologies:
- two steam methane reformer (SMR) trains combining to produce approximately 16.4 tonnes per hour (approximately 165 million standard cubic feet per day) of hydrogen to be used in the production of cleaner burning transportation fuels and petrochemicals;
- a cryogenic syngas purification system to produce syngas, a mixture of purified hydrogen and carbon monoxide;
- steam generated from Air Products’ units for BPCL’s manufacturing process;
- an air separation unit to produce nitrogen and oxygen for the refinery and petrochemical complex; and
- a gas turbine to produce power for the Air Products facilities.
“This important investment supports Air Products’ commitment to the Indian market and will help to make BPCL’s Kochi Refinery the largest and most viable public sector refinery in the country,” said Howard Castle-Smith, regional vice president, Tonnage Gases Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. “The agreement also supports Air Products’ strategy of supplying refineries with industrial gases as they continue to expand, and also as new grassroots refineries are built to meet growing energy demand. Once onstream, this location will become a benchmark reference facility in the region and demonstrate our technological and operational excellence.” Castle-Smith added that this follows Air Products’ well-established on-site business model of winning profitable projects by signing long-term agreements with reputable customers.
These efforts and other productivity improvements will help to improve the BPCL Kochi Refinery’s conversion of heavy crude, allowing for the production of clean fuels to meet Euro IV/V specifications. It will also position BPCL and the petrochemicals facility for diversification into higher value-added petrochemicals. The plant configuration and deployed technologies support Air Products’ overall sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions.
The new hydrogen facilities will be built through the global hydrogen alliance between Air Products and Technip, a world leader in project management, engineering and construction. The plant will feature the latest technology advancements to maximize energy efficiency and emissions reduction, and will include optimal heat integration, which in turn lowers feedstock consumption during production.
For 20 years the Air Products and Technip global alliance has provided the worldwide refining industry with competitive technology and world-class safety. The alliance is responsible for over 35 SMR hydrogen plants located in 11 countries around the world and produces well over two billion standard cubic feet of hydrogen per day for clean fuels production. Technip provides the design and construction expertise for steam reformers while Air Products provides the gas separation technology. Air Products, through its extensive operating network, and Technip, from its large reference base, also bring effective operational and engineering knowledge to “design-in” high reliability and efficiency. The plants are operated and maintained by Air Products under long-term agreements with customers.