Fuel Quality Workshop on 'Moving Towards High Quality Requirements in India: Beyond 2020'

Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) and Asian Clean Fuel Association (ACFA), Singapore organised a fuel quality workshop on moving towards high octane petrol in India: beyond 2020 on November 21, 2017 at New Delhi. The aim was to deliberate on the options available for shifting to 95 RON petrol production in due course.

India is leapfrogging to BS VI emission standards compliant auto-fuels by April 2020 when these fuels will be rolled out on all India basis. In view of the serious air pollution problem in NCR, MoP&NG in consultation with OMCs has already decided to introduce BS VI compliant fuels in National Capital Territory from April 2018. OMCs have also been asked to examine the possibility of introduction of BS-VI auto fuels in the whole of NCR area w.e.f. 01.04.2019.

Current BS VI petrol specifications envisage requirement of 91 octane (RON). The higher octane quality of the fuel is required in high compression engines for smooth ignition of fuel which help in improving the fuel efficiency. Indian automobile manufacturers, in line with the European trends and also to comply with fuel efficiency norms proposed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, are planning to roll out vehicles with engines which may need 95 RON petrol. Automobiles manufacturers, therefore, desired that 95 RON petrol only be supplied. It may be mentioned that OMCs are currently marketing limited volumes of 95 RON petrol in Indian market to meet the requirement of imported cars.

Shri Sandeep Poundrik, Joint Secretary (Refineries), Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in his Inaugural Address mentioned that the workshop is being held at a very appropriate time when the country is leapfrogging from BS IV to BS VI fuels within a short period of 3 years. He congratulated Indian refineries and marketing companies for smooth transition to BS IV fuel supply all over India from April, 2017. He expressed confidence that oil companies will also achieve the target of BS VI fuel for which refineries are making investment of Rs. 28,000 crore. He highlighted the role of auto fuel quality for emission control and informed that the decision of the Government for advancing the roll out of BS VI fuels in national capital territory by April 2018 has been taken with a view to reduce the vehicular pollution in Delhi.

On the issue of increasing RON of BS VI petrol from 91 to 95, he stated that the same was not found feasible because any increase of octane will impact the production of LPG in refineries. As Govt. has prioritized the supply of LPG to rural households its consumption is steadily increasing. He, therefore, desired that this workshop should deliberate on the production of 95 RON through various other options including the impact of ethanol blending which so far was only on account of environmental considerations only.

Experts from other countries presented the best practices adopted elsewhere for improving octane quality of fuel in a cost effective manner. During the workshop, Indian Refiners informed that while it may be relatively easier to shift to 95 RON petrol in new big size refineries, it calls for specific solution for old refineries due to the technological configurations. The refineries also currently have the priority to supply BS VI fuel from April 2020 all over the country to tackle the serious problem of vehicular pollution for which they already have on-going projects. However, the OMCs are actively examining various options and will keep on increasing the supply of 95 RON petrol as the demand grows in line with the production of advanced vehicles and will switch over completely to such grade at the earliest.

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Dr. R.K. Malhotra, Director General, FIPI welcoming the participants.

Mr. Sandeep Poundrik, Joint Secretary (R), Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Govt. of India delivering the inaugural address.

Mr. Clarence Woo, Executive Director, ACFA address the participants.
Mr. Brij Behari Chief General Manager (T), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd giving his presentation on ‘MS QUALITY UPGRADATION- Challenges and Approach for 95 RON beyond 2020’.
Dr. Partha Maitra, President-LT Initiative, RIL delivering his presentation on ‘Gasoline Maximization Strategy’.
Mr. Anoop Bhat, Vice President, Maruti Suzuki India Limited giving his presentation on ‘Gasoline Fuel - RON - Industry Prespecive’.
Dr. Hendrik Fischer, Product Stewardship, Evonik/EFOA delivering the presentation on ‘EU Fuel Standards and Fuel Ethers Contribution’.
Mr. John Paisie, Executive Vice President, Stratas Advisor delivering his presentation on ‘Assessment of Indian Gasoline Market and the Role of MTBE ’.
Panel Discussions on “Challenges & Opportunities for High Octane Gasoline”.
Mr. N.K. Bansal, Director (Oil Refining & Marketing), FIPI delivering the Valedictory address.
A section of participants.