India has moved
... from being a net importer to an exporter of refined petroleum products.
. . .
In the dizzy days of the 90s internet boom, distilling crude into diesel, gasoline, home-heating oil and aviation fuel was considered a dinosaur business, with low margins and large outlays. Oil refining was yesterday's business, not tomorrow's.
But Reliance says it gambled on a "paradigm shift" in the economics of the refinery business. The company, which began as a textile trader but moved into producing polyester, had noticed that India was importing millions of tonnes of refined hydrocarbons a year. Its managers projected prices creeping upwards largely due to three global oil trends.
First the oil being produced from the world's hydrocarbon reservoirs was increasingly "sour", or heavy, full of sulphur and other impurities that older refineries could not cope with.
Second was that no new capacity was being built around the world. Environmental concerns and the rising costs of infrastructure projects discouraged the oil majors from putting up refineries in Europe and America. No new oil refinery has been built in the US since the 1980s as environmental legislation has tightened.
Third was Reliance's belief that Asian economies would become dynamos of world growth - inevitably increasing demand for petro-products.
. . .
The products from the Jamnagar complex are for foreign consumption. When complete, the facility will be able to refine 1.24m barrels of crude a day. Two-fifths of this gasoline will be sent 9,000 miles (15,000km) by sea to America.