Major Indian Chemical Complex Put on Ice

09.11.2020 - Following completion of a comprehensive feasibility study, tentative plans for a major petrochemical complex in India have been shelved for now, due to what the prospective international project partners said were global economic uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was “despite all attempts to optimize the scope and the configuration,” said the companies, which included Germany’s BASF and India’s Adani group in addition to Austria’s Borealis and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) of the United Arab Emirates.

BASF and Adani initially drafted plans for the project in 2019. The Vienna olefins and polyolefins group and its then-principal shareholder ADNOC) were later taken on board and the project’s value expanded to $4 billion. Output was designed to supply the Indian market, which currently is a net importer of petrochemicals.

Announcing the at least temporary abandonment of the project, the four-member consortium gave little indication of any future joint plans for India. At the same time, they said they “remain convinced about the strong fundamentals represented by the Indian market” and together plan to “periodically explore market conditions and discuss any opportunity that may arise over time.”

At the core of the multi-faceted study was the feasibility of a world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit, which would have produced propylene from propane feedstock supplied by ADNOC. Part of the output was envisioned to feed a PP complex jointly owned by ADNOC and Borealis as part of their Borouge joint venture in the UAE.

Additionally eyed for the Indian complex was an acrylics value chain producing glacial acrylic acid (GAA), oxo-C4 (butanols and 2-ethylhexanol) and butyl acrylate (BA), along with potential other downstream products. This was to be pursued by an existing jv between BASF and Adani.

BASF also had touted an ecological footprint for the site, which would have become the German group’s first CO2-neutral production site. The study for the Indian complex also included looking at the feasibility of including a wind and solar park. 

In May this year, Borealis dropped plans for an ethane cracker and world-scale polyethylene complex in Kazakhstan announced in 2018, saying that all aspects of the plans had been impacted by the pandemic. The complex would have used the Austrian group’s Borstar process to produce polyethylene.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist