The Numaligarh refinery expansion project will increase the refinery’s capacity to 9mtpa. Credit: noomcpk/
The expansion is part of the Indian Government’s Hydrocarbon Vision 2030. Credit: Press Information Bureau/Government of India.
The refinery expansion is expected to be completed by 2024. Credit: Press Information Bureau/Government of India.

The Numaligarh refinery situated in Assam, India, is operated by Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), which is a joint venture between Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL-61.65%), Oil India (26%), and the Assam Government (12.35%).

The refinery was first commissioned in 2000 and has a capacity of three million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

It is being expanded to increase capacity to 9Mtpa under the Numaligarh refinery expansion project (NREP). The expansion is being undertaken with an estimated investment of Rs280bn ($3.5bn) and is expected to be completed by 2024.

The expansion is a strategic move under the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 by the Indian Government to meet the growing petroleum product demand in the northeast. It will help to enhance energy security and promote regional economic growth in the northeastern part of India.

Project location of the Numaligarh refinery

The Numaligarh refinery is located at Numaligarh in the Golaghat District of Assam. It is spread over an area of 303ha (749 acres).

Numaligarh refinery expansion project details

The Numaligarh expansion project is focused on increasing the capacity and capabilities of the refinery to handle Arab light and Arab heavy crude oils. In addition, the expansion will enable the motor spirit (gasoline) and high-speed diesel (HSD) produced from the new refinery train to meet the stringent BS-VI specifications.

The expansion includes the installation of a 6mtpa crude distillation unit (CDU) and vacuum distillation unit (VDU), and a 1.95mtpa high-severity petroleum fluidised catalytic cracking unit (PFCCU). The  PFCCU unit will yield LPG and propylene, the latter being used in a new polypropylene unit for high-value polymer production.

In addition, the expansion will include the installation of a naphtha hydro-treater (NHT), isomerisation (ISOM), and naphtha continuous catalytic regeneration units (CCR), a diesel hydrotreating unit (DHDT), and an FCC gasoline desulphurisation unit.

Other facilities for treating diesel and gasoline will be installed alongside the PFCC for secondary processing including an integrated residue upgradation facility (RUF) comprising an ebullated bed residue hydrocracker and integrated vacuum gas oil (VGO) hydrotreater.

Supporting units such as a hydrogen generation unit (HGU), sulphur recovery unit (SRU), sour water stripper (SWS), amine recovery unit (ARU), tail gas treatment unit (TGTU), and a straight run-LPG treating unit are part of the comprehensive expansion strategy.

Crude oil pipeline details

NRL is constructing two pivotal pipelines to meet the additional crude oil required for the expansion and to ensure the smooth operation of the refinery.

Crude oil will be imported at Paradip Port in Odisha and transported through the 1,398km Paradip-Numaligarh Crude Pipeline (PNCPL). The pipeline will start from Paradip Port in Odisha and pass through West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Bihar, culminating at the Numaligarh refinery in Assam.

A 654km product pipeline will link the refinery to a marketing terminal at Siliguri, West Bengal, for transporting refined products.

Contractors involved

Technip Energies India, an engineering and technology company, was appointed as the project management consultant and engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) contractor.

Industrial and technology company thyssenkrupp’s subsidiary thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions India was awarded a $155m EPC contract in November 2021 for the CDU/VDU, PFCC, LPG treatment, gasoline desulphurisation, NHT, ISOM, and CCR units.

Toyo Engineering India, a subsidiary of Toyo Engineering, was awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract for the DHT unit in December 2021.

Honeywell UOP, a technology provider for petroleum refining and petrochemical production, is providing its UOP Distillate Unionfining™ process to produce cleaner-burning diesel and increase crude oil conversion.

Axens, a provider of solutions for the conversion of oil and biomass to cleaner fuels, was contracted to supply critical technologies for naphtha hydrotreating, continuous catalytic reforming (Octanizing™), C5-C6 isomerisation, and FCC gasoline selective desulphurisation (Prime-G+®) units.

Chevron Lummus, a technology provider, was contracted to supply its LC-FINING technology with an integrated VGO hydrotreater.

Aspen Technology, an asset optimisation software company, is providing its software solutions, such as Aspen HYSYS®, Aspen unified PIMS™, Aspen DMC3™, Aspen infoplus.21®, Aspen tank operations and movement systems™, and Aspen operations reconciliation and accounting™, to ensure optimal plant performance.

GR Consultants, a consulting company, is providing engineering design consultancy services to Technip Energies.

Engineers India, a consulting company, served as the environmental consultant and prepared the feasibility and detailed feasibility report for the Numaligarh refinery expansion project.