New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) India’s biggest oil firm IOC today said it plans to invest about Rs 1.43 lakh crore to nearly double its oil refining capacity to 150 million tonnes and boost petrochemical production by 2030.

While Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is expanding refining capacity to meet fuel demand, which is expected to nearly double by 2040, it does not want to remain “a refining company alone and is thus venturing into petrochemicals and alternative fuels as well,” company’s Director (Refineries) B V Rama Gopal told reporters here.

The company currently owns and operates 11 out of the country’s 23 refineries. Its refineries have a total capacity of 80.7 million tonnes per annum.

IOC is investing Rs 16,628 crore in upgrading its refineries to produce Euro-VI emission norm compliant petrol and diesel as against Euro-IV fuel being produced now. This investment cycle would be completed by 2020, he said.

Besides, the company is investing Rs 15,600 crore in expansion of petrochemical projects and another Rs 74,600 crore in raising the capacity of its existing refineries.

He said another Rs 36,500 crore worth of projects are in pipeline but haven’t been approved by the company board as yet. These include expansion of its recently-commissioned 15-MTPA Paradip refinery in Odisha to 18 MTPA as also the expansion of Bongaigaon unit.

India’s current refining capacity of 247.6 MTPA exceeds consumption but with demand growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 3.5-4%, it will need to add more capacity to meet the rising fuel needs. While the Energy Information Agency of US projects India’s demand to reach 434 MT by 2040 from 194 MT currently, IEA puts the number between 450 and 492 MT.

IOC plans to raise the capacity of its Panipat refinery in Haryana to 25 MTPA from current 15 MTPA, while Koyali refinery in Gujarat would be expanded to 18 MTPA from 13.7 MTPA. While 3 MT will be added in IOC’s Barauni refinery in Bihar, a 1.2-MTPA capacity addition is planned for Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura refinery to take its capacity to 9.2 MTPA.

The official said IOC is also looking at adding a 9 MTPA capacity to its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum (CPCL).

He said IOC, BPCL, and HPCL are together setting up a new 60 MPTA refinery on the west coast in Maharashtra.

Talking of growth drivers, he said IOC is setting up a new unit at its Panipat refinery to manufacture ethanol from refinery off-gases. Ethanol so produced will be used for blending in petrol.

India is targeting blending of up to 10 per cent ethanol in petrol to cut reliance on imports to meet oil needs.

Also, a plant to convert agri-stubble into ethanol is being set up.

On alternate energy plans, he said the company plans to take solar power generation capacity to 260 MW by 2020 from current 188 MW.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.