India’s ambitious infrastructure projects for traffic congestion raise the annual bitumen demand from 4.8 to 7 million tons within the next years. Hence, the Indian Oil Company Ltd. (IOCL), India’s largest commercial enterprise, invested in another bitumen plant. In February 2017, IOCL commissioned together with the Pörner Group (Vienna, Austria; www.poerner.at), the bitumen technology global leader, a new Biturox bitumen plant, at Barauni Refinery, near Patna in East India. This is the fourth plant operated by IOCL based on Biturox technology. Pörner again provided the license and engineering services.
India‘s road infrastructure amounts to approximately 5.5 million km, thus being the second largest road network in the world, after the U.S. India’s National Highways cover only 2% of the country and only about 60% of the roads are asphalted. Therefore, the road network development is one of the main targets for the Indian government. As a very important construction material bitumen in first class quality plays an essential role for this. Because of the ambitious expansion programs such as the East-West and North-South corridors across India, the annual bitumen consumption is going to increase from 4.8 million tons up to 7 million within the next seven years.
By the middle of the century, India expects to become the most highly populated country and the third-largest economy in the world after the U.S. and China. The development of new cities and the expected comprehensive industrialization re- quire rapid improvements of the infrastructure, especially the road networks. Therefore the construction of additional approx. 19,000 km expressways is planned up to 20224. Bitumen produced by Biturox is an essential contribution to an economic construction and long lifetime of these roadways.
Presently about 65% of India’s bitumen is produced in Pörner Biturox plants, with ten of India’s 23 petroleum refineries producing bitumen with high viscosity by Biturox plants.
To reduce bitumen imports, IOCL invested in construction of a new bitumen plant with proven Pörner Biturox technology for bitumen with high viscosity grades. Since February 2017 the plant has been producing on-spec road paving bitumen VG-10, 20, 30 & 40 with a capacity of 150,000 ton/yr, sufficient for paving 1,000 km/yr of expressways.
The Biturox process provides IOCL a high flexibility in the choice of feedstock: it is possible to process refinery intermediate products VR (vacuum residues), as well as HVGO (heavy vacuum gas oil) from different crudes of the Middle East. “We now have one of most up-to-date bitumen plant in the world that meets all quality requirements” says Shukla, Executive director, Barauni Refinery.
The Pörner scope of services comprised licensing, tests in the Pörner laboratories, basic engineering, supply of core components as well as commissioning support and personnel training.
The new Biturox plant in Barauni is the fourth plant for the IOCL licensed by Pörner after 1994 (Chennai Refinery), 2001 (Gujarat Refinery) and 2010 (Mathura Refinery).
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