Hindustan Petroleum Corp plans to start operating its new 180,000 barrels per day Barmer refinery in India's desert state of Rajasthan by end-December using mostly Middle East oil, its head of refineries S Bharatan said.

The state-run company expects the refinery to reach full capacity in about a year's time, Bharatan told Reuters in an interview.

"The new refinery can process 100% heavy grades so we will buy Middle Eastern heavy oil and will also bid to buy Mangala oil as we have a dedicated pipeline from the field to refinery," he said.

Mangala oil is produced at an oil block operated by a unit of Vedanta Resources in Barmer.

HPCL hopes to commission an integrated petrochemical project at the same site in the second quarter of 2025, Bharatan said.

The project, in which HPCL has a 74% stake and the Rajasthan government holds the remainder, was due to be completed by December 2022 but shutdowns due to the pandemic delayed the plans.

HPCL also operates a 300,000 bpd Vizag refinery in southern Andhra Pradesh state and its 196,000 bpd Mumbai refinery in western India.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Jason Neely)