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Image courtesy-RIL Q3 2014-15 presentation
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the country’s pace-setter for giant manufacturing projects, appeared to have lost steam and valuable time due to adverse business and policy environment under the UPA regime. 
This is the conclusion an analyst would arrive at after looking at the company’s self-assessment of the implementation of its Rs 60,000-crore multi-product special economic zone (SEZ) at Jamnagar in Gujarat. The Assessment shows that 18 units of this 30-plants complex are yet to move beyond the design stage. 
This has forced the company to seek 5-year extension in the environmental clearance (EC) for the petroleum-cum-petrochemical complex, which is one of the most complex and integrated projects in the world, according to an official source. 
While seeking extension, RIL has stated: “The projects as per approval are in different stages of execution. Some of the components in the approved EC are, however, completed and commissioned.”  
The EC dated 30th March 2010 would expire on 30th March 2015. The company wants it to be extended to 30th March 2020, by which it would be able to commission all the units.  The Commerce Department had approved transformation of Jamnagar SEZ from sector-specific to multi-product in mid-2007.
Several companies realized their respective SEZs had become unviable or unattractive following withdrawal of two income tax incentives by the UPA in 2012. The precise impact of this policy change on RIL SEZ is, however, not known. 
Notwithstanding adverse factors, RIL is now trying to make up for the lost time if the disclosure made last week in its Q3 presentation is any indication. 
As put by the presentation, “Over 8,500 construction machinery including 1,500 cranes deployed on the project to support the construction efforts. Over 100,000 workmen (are) working at site to achieve construction targets.  Lighting & other infrastructure (are) being provided for ‘round the clock’ construction.”
The present pace of work would remind any observer of RIL’s notable project execution skills: It commissioned the second refinery at Jamnagar in only 36 months from the zero date. And it started pumping gas from its offshore KG basin asset within six and a half years of gas discovery as compared to the global average of nine to ten years for similar deepwater production facilities.
The focus at Jamnagar SEZ at present is on the petcoke-based gasification plant that can become the trend-setter alternative to liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals.
With a capacity to process 8.75 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of petcoke, it would be the world’s largest E-gas technology-based project.
Environment friendly E-gas technology is offered by CB&I of the U.S., which is one of the world’s largest energy infrastructure company. 
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is mulling setting up of a petcoke-gasification project at its upcoming Pardeep refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Odisha, according to a note prepared by Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.
The proposed project would supply synthesis gas (syngas) to a downstream plant that would produce ammonia, a versatile intermediate which can be used for producing urea and diammonium phosphate fertilizers. 
 The country has been forced to increasingly rely on costly LNG imports primarily due to gas pricing politics-induced setback to exploration and production of gas in the country. 
Apart from using petcoke produced by its twin refineries at Jamnagar, RIL intends to source petcoke from other refineries at home and abroad. It also has the option to blend petcoke with coal to feed the gasification plant. It would produce synthesis gas, which would serve as fuel for gas turbine-based power generation and as feedstock for production of chemicals at the complex. 
According to RIL’s annual report for 2013-14, the petcoke gasification project is “expected to put RIL’s energy and hydrogen costs at par or better than the refineries in the US, where natural gas prices have fallen dramatically with the shale revolution. The project is designed to deliver a step change reduction in energy costs, substituting imported LNG with Coke /Coal.”
The SEZ comprises three major upstream/mother plants, one of which is already commissioned and is operational - Jamnagar Export Refinery Project (JERP). The two other upstream plants are a multi-feed cracker which is at the design stage and the coal gasification plant that is slated for completion in 2015. 
Syngas and different hydrocarbon streams including off-gases from JERP and adjoining domestic tariff area (DTA) refinery would provide feedstock and intermediates for the downstream plants at SEZ. 
The project is configured into five segments based on eight hydrocarbon fractions - C1(methane), C2 (ethane), C3 (propane), C4-C5(propane-pentane), and C6-C7-C8 (hexane-heptane-octane) streams.
The project has a long value chain with the product of one downstream unit serving as raw material for another. For instance, syngas from the gasification plant would feed a downstream plant that would produce 625,000 tpa of methanol, which would serve as building block for the acetic acid to be manufactured by a 1mtpa unit. 
The downstream facilities of C1 stream would include 700,000 tpa vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant, 350,000 tpa polyvinyl acetate (PVA) plant and 125,000 tpa polyvinyl alcohol plant.
The C2 stream would comprise a multi-feed cracker with capacity to produce 3.45million tpa of ethylene and other intermediates. It would use refinery fuel gas and intermediates from fluid catalytic cracker units of refineries.
C2 block would include a 1.25 million tpa plant that would produce mono ethylene glycol (MEG) & two other glycols and a 750,000 tpa swing plant for manufacturing high density polyethylene/linear low density polyethylene (HDPE/LLDPE).
The C3 stream would comprise plants for production of 450,000 tpa acrylic acid and super absorbent polymer (SAP), 500,000 tpa of acrylates, 200,000 tpa of  propylene glycols, 250,000 tpa of polyols, 320,000 tpa of hydrogen peroxide, 125,000 tpa of polypropylene (non-woven PP), 250,000 tpa of polypropylene (PP) and 400,000 tpa of propylene derivatives such as cumene. 
The C4-C5 stream would comprise plants for manufacturing 470,000 tpa of butyl rubber (BR), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and poly butadiene rubber (PBR), 62,500 tpa of Butene-1, 250,000 tpa of maleic anhydride (MAN) and 125,000 tpa of fumaric acid. 
The C6-C7-C8 stream would generate intermediates such as mono nitro benzene and phosgene for producing 500,000 tpa of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and tolune diisocyanate (TDI). 
This other plants under this stream would have capacity to produce 1million tpa of styrene, 2.5 milllion tpa of paraxylene and orthoxylene, 1.87 million tpa  of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), 1.5 million tpa of polyethylene terepthalate (PET), 625,000 tpa of polyester staple fibre (PSF) and partially oriented yarn (POY).  
SEZ would also house a 1.5 million tpa carbon black plant, a 2 million tpa lube oil refinery complex and a 2100 MW power plant.
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