On 19th April 2017, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) announced that it has started the ethane plant at its Dahej manufacturing facility in Gujarat. The company completed the construction of the largest and most complex plant in the world in record time by spending USD 1.5 billion.
Statements from RIL
In a statement released, the company said that it is pleased to announce the flawless and successful completion of its ethane project at the Dahej manufacturing facility in Gujarat. It also said that it has begun ethane cracking, and ethane receiving and handling facilities at the plant in less than three years, which is a record time.
RIL stated that the successful start-up shows the company’s capacity to create a world-scale infrastructure with the help of complex technologies. The company added that the execution of this project at such a large scale is first-of-its-kind in the world.
RIL said that the supply of ethane will offer feedstock security and flexibility. It will let the company choose the most optimal feed mix depending on market conditions.
The statement further mentioned that this will improve the cost competitiveness of the company’s present crackers and let RIL optimize its portfolio in a volatile market environment.
Transportation of ethane from the US
Natural gas ethane is produced in abundance in North America because of the shale gas revolution. The revolution has generated cooking gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in large quantities. In the past five years, North America’s shale gas industry has witnessed a phenomenal growth and this has reduced ethane prices.
RIL will import ethane from North America in large quantities and use it in its cracker as feedstock to make petrochemicals. The company has planned to transport 1.5 million tons of ethane every year from its shale joint ventures in the United States (US) to its manufacturing plant in Gujarat. Ethane is mainly used as a petrochemical feedstock. It makes ethylene by the process of steam cracking.
Mukesh Ambani led RIL has two joint ventures in Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania. One of its joint ventures is with Chevron. The company has made an investment of USD 1.7 billion for this. Its other joint venture is with Carrizo Oil & Gas. For this, RIL has made an investment of USD 392 million.
The entire process chain began from securing ethane refrigeration capacity in Gulf Coast in the US. The next step was delivering dedicated Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLECs) to ship ethane to the West Coast of India from the US Gulf Coast. The VLECs later transported liquefied ethane to the Dahej terminal in Gujarat.
RIL constructed ethane receipt and handling facilities at its manufacturing plants in Dahej, Nagothane, and Hazira. The construction included setting up of pipelines and upgrading of crackers to receive ethane. The liquefied ethane received in Dahej will be used to supply feedstock for crackers in RIL’s Dahej, Nagothane, and Hazira manufacturing facilities.
RIL completed the construction and commissioned the largest ethane plant in the world in a record time at its Dahej manufacturing facility.