Visakhapatnam: RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, which has received wide acclaim for supplying liquid medical oxygen during the first and second Covid-19 wave, has two more additional oxygen extraction units at its air separation plant. The two units can produce 50 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen each.
The Air Separation Plant (ASP) at RINL has five units of oxygen extraction plants for 7.3 Mtpa steel plant. Of them, three units are of 550 tonnes/day capacity and two units 600 tonnes/day capacity. The two additional units were proposed to meet requirements of LD converters in the steel melt shop of the expansion project. An agreement was reached in 2010 with Air Liquide of France for setting up the two air separation units of 850 tonnes per day on build, own and operate basis.
It was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012. In addition, Air Liquide will produce large quantities of liquid gases (oxygen, nitrogen and argon) to meet the needs of the industrial and medical customers in the region.
Speaking to TNIE, former CMD of RINL Y Siva Sagara Rao said the two additional units were installed by the French company to meet the expansion steel production capacity to 20 millions tonnes a day. However, owing to dilly dallying approach by the ministry and delay in the expansion project, the oxygen extraction units could not be commissioned. In the meantime, the French company had gone for arbitration.
If Rs 90 crore is spent now, oxygen production can be resumed soon, he said. Rao said he had already spoken to Municipal Administration Minister Botcha Satyanarayana and the minister promised to bring it to the notice of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy so as to take up the issue with the Centre.
He said if the steps are taken, the two units can be commissioned early to meet the demand of during the current Covid situation. He said the units can be commissioned with local technical support.
TALKS ON WITH FRENCH FIRM TO END IMPASSE:
VSP sources said high-level talks were going on with regard to arbitration. They said activity at the additional plants will begin in May. Initially, assessment of condition of the equipment installed three to four years ago, trial run and integrated trial run will be done by Air Liquide to hand over them to RINL for commissioning of the plant.