As India grapples with an unprecedented new wave of the Covid Pandemic, Reliance Industries has risen to the occasion by making an all-out effort to save precious lives.
A critical need of the hour is assured availability of medical grade liquid oxygen for treatment of severely ill patients across the country. Traditionally, Reliance is not a manufacturer of medical grade liquid oxygen. Yet, starting from Nil before the pandemic, Reliance Industries has now become India’s largest producer of this life-saving resource from a single location. At its refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Jamnagar and other facilities, RIL now produces over 1000 MT of medical grade liquid oxygen per day — or over 11% of India’s total production – meeting the needs of nearly every one in ten patients.
Under the personal supervision of Shri Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, at Jamnagar, Reliance has adopted a two-pronged approach to strengthen the availability of medical oxygen in India:
- Refocusing several industrial processes at Reliance’s Jamnagar and other facilities for rapid scale-up in production of medical grade liquid oxygen.
- Augmenting loading and transportation capacities to ensure its swift and safe supply to States and Union Territories across India.
Enhancing Production of Medical Grade Oxygen at Reliance Facilities
- Prior to this pandemic, Reliance was not a manufacturer of medical grade liquid oxygen. However, RIL engineers quickly reconfigured and optimised current operations – designed for Refining and Petrochemicals grade oxygen – to produce high-purity medical grade oxygen.
- Medical grade liquid oxygen has to be produced in liquid form at -183°C with almost 99.5% purity, which poses extraordinary challenges and risks in production and maximising tonnage.
- Reliance engineers worked tirelessly and, through process optimisation and modifications of Cryogenic Air Separation Units, were able maximise production of medical grade liquid oxygen in a very short span of time.
- Reliance has now been able to ramp up its production of medical grade oxygen from ZERO to 1000 MT per day, constituting more than 11% of the country’s total medical grade liquid oxygen production.
- This oxygen is being provided free-of-cost to several State Governments across the country to bring immediate relief to over 1 lakh patients on a daily basis.
- Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Reliance has supplied over 55,000 MT of medical grade liquid oxygen across the country.
Ensuring Swift Supply of Oxygen across states and union territories
- In addition to the production of high-quality medical grade liquid oxygen, the other challenge has been to quickly overcome the transportation bottleneck in supply of liquid oxygen to various parts of the country. This necessitated increasing the loading capacity for its safe and quick transportation.
- To achieve this, Reliance engineers made smart logistical modifications to rail and road transport, such as laying parallel lines, using hoses, and loading up liquid tankers through pressure differential, since liquid oxygen pumps cannot be installed at short notice.
- In another innovation, Reliance converted nitrogen tankers into transport trucks for medical grade oxygen, through innovative and safe processes that were approved by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO), the relevant regulatory body of the Government of India.
- Reliance organised the airlifting of 24 ISO containers into India from Saudi Arabia, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Thailand adding 500 MT of new transportation capacity for liquid Oxygen. These ISO containers will help in removing the transport constraints for medical grade liquid Oxygen in the country. In addition, Reliance is airfreighting more ISO containers over the next few days.
- We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Aramco, BP and IAF for their immense help in providing and transporting ISO containers to help the country in its battle against Covid.
Commenting on these initiatives, Shri. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited, said: “For me and for all of us at Reliance, nothing is more important than saving every life as India battles against a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an immediate need to maximise India’s production and transportation capacities for medical grade oxygen. I am proud of our engineers at Jamnagar who have worked tirelessly, with a great sense of patriotic urgency, to meet this new challenge. I am truly humbled by the determination and sense of purpose shown by the bright, young members of the Reliance family who have once again risen to the occasion and delivered when India needs it the most.”
Smt. Nita Ambani, Founder-Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, said: “Our country is going through an unprecedented crisis. We at Reliance Foundation will continue to do everything we can to help. Every life is precious. Our plants at our Jamnagar refinery have been repurposed overnight to produce medical grade liquid oxygen that is being distributed across India. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow countrymen and women. Together, we will overcome these difficult times.”