India’s largest oil company, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), is planning to establish green hydrogen plants at all its refineries in a Rs 2 lakh crore green transition plan to reach net-zero emissions from its operations by 2046, said Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman, IOC.
The firm aims to expand its refining capacity from 81.2 million tonnes to 106.7 million tonnes annually as it forecasts India’s oil demand to rise from 5.1 million barrels per day to 7-7.2 million bpd by 2030 and 9 million bpd by 2040. While oil will continue to be a significant fuel for the next few years, IOC is preparing for a transition involving green hydrogen, biofuels, electric vehicles (EVs), and alternative fuels.
Hydrogen, the cleanest fuel, is being touted as the fuel of the future, but its relatively high cost compared to alternative fuels currently limits its usage in industries. Refineries use hydrogen to lower the sulfur content of diesel fuel, and currently, it is produced using fossil fuels such as natural gas. IOC plans to use renewable sources such as solar energy to split water and produce green hydrogen.
IOC aims to achieve net-zero emissions by investing over Rs 2 lakh crore and is planning to produce 50% of its overall hydrogen output as green hydrogen within 5-10 years and 100% by 2040. Additionally, the company plans to increase its renewable energy capacity to 12 GW from the current 256 MW and have EV charging facilities at 10,000 fuel stations within two years.
IOC is also remodelling its business with a focus on petrochemicals to hedge volatility in the fuel business and make itself future-ready by turning petrol pumps into energy outlets that offer EV charging points and battery swapping options. The petrochemical intensity, the percentage of crude oil converted into chemicals, is currently low at 5-6%, which IOC intends to increase to 10-12%. The newer refineries at Panipat and Paradip have a petrochemical intensity of 15-20%, which IOC plans to raise to 25%.