Reliance Industries to diversify hydrocarbon business as renewable energy gains ground
Reliance Industries Ltd. is seeking to “future-proof” its hydrocarbon portfolio as renewable energy finds currency in the country and abroad, its Chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders at the company’s 41st annual general meeting, in Mumbai.
“We have a complete plan to further increase the level of integration by adding new chemical chains and capacity to produce new materials and composites of high value,” he said. “This will minimise the impact of renewables and electricity on transportation fuels,” he added.
RIL said it was nearing the end of its largest-ever investment at its Jamnagar refinery complex in Gujarat. The investment helped Jamnagar emerge as the world’s largest manufacturing facility for paraxylene — a key raw material to make other industrial chemicals. With a 4.2-million tonne capacity, Reliance is now at the second spot globally among paraxylene producers.
The opening of the world’s largest off-gas cracker complex positions Reliance as one of the most efficient producers of polymers. Further, the petcoke gasification project will eliminate the dependence of the refinery on imported natural gas and add value to its profitability, particularly in a high oil price scenario, Ambani said.
These new projects have redefined the oil-to-chemicals integration, which Reliance began in the late 1990s. “As the world migrates from fossil fuels to renewable energy, we will further maximise oil-to-chemicals conversion and upgrade all of our fuels to highvalue petrochemicals. This upgradation will be implemented in a phased manner over the next decade to meet the rapidly increasing demand for petrochemicals in India and the region. The hydrocarbon business is thus poised for robust value creation. It will play a catalytic role in determining profitability of hydrocarbons businesses of the future,” Ambani stated.
The company will commission the butyl rubber project later this year, besides adding composites and carbon-fibre to its portfolio, Ambani said. “These high-value materials will cater to the growing needs of India’s transportation and alternate energy sectors,” Ambani informed, adding that the value-chain integration will allow Reliance to create “an annuity-like cash flow with lower risk of cyclical markets”.
Reliance and its joint venture partner BP plc intends to start gas production from the KG-D6 Block in 2020 and reach full production of 30-35 million metric standard cubic metres per day by 2022, he said. Reliance is also weighing a cross-border merger of Reliance Holding USA (RHUSA) with RIL to integrate the gas resources in America with the Indian market, Ambani said, adding that BP plc was pursuing opportunities to source and distribute gas to Indian consumers.
The company is doing well in its E-commerce businesses as well and has doubled its subscriber base to 215 million in 22 months and is all set to launch newer developments in the same.