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BP, RIL expand partnership on aromatic plant

6 August 2012

Indian-based Reliance Industries (RIL) has reportedly expanded its $7.2bn exploration and production partnership with UK-based British Petroleum (BP) to downstream segments.

"The aromatic plant expansion forms part of RIL $12bn petrochemicals plan, which is likely to be completed in the next four years."

BP was quoted by DNA as saying, in its half-yearly report, that in July, the UK-based company licensed its paraxylene technology to Reliance Industries.

RIL will equip its aromatics plant in Gujarat, India, with BP paraxylene technology, which will be sourced through the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I).

BP's technology will use a crystallisation step and other distinctive features, which minimise operating costs, according to a chemical and process engineering journal.

The aromatic plant expansion forms part of RIL $12bn petrochemicals plan, which is likely to be completed in the next four years.

A Mumbai-based chemical consultant firm said that the manufacturing of aromatics mainly involves three compounds, benzene, toluene and xylene, which are core building blocks for dyes, detergents, plastics, fibres and other industrial compounds.

"India does not have a huge capacity for aromatics compound and hence, even ONGC, along with its subsidiary MRPL, is setting up a paraxylene and benzene plant in Mangalore," the consultant added.

According to the RIL annual report, out of a $12bn petrochemical complex investment, nearly $8bn will be invested in the polyester and polymers chain.

Paraxylene is used as an intermediate to manufacture polyester, a polymer used in various applications, including fibres and engineering plastics.