Pradhan proposes largest refinery in Maha

Pradhan proposes largest refinery in Maha
Highlights

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday sprang a surprise by asking three state-run oil refiners -- IndianOil, BPCL and HPCL -- to get ready to set up the largest refining and petrochemicals complex in the public sector before 2017-end in coastal Maharashtra.

I have just asked the state-run refiners to work on setting up an oil refinery-cum-petrochem complex in the public sector in western Maharashtra, which should be largest in the public sector. Though it's up to these companies to work out the details, I can assure you that ground-breaking for the proposed project would happen before the end of 2017

— Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Mumbai : Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday sprang a surprise by asking three state-run oil refiners -- IndianOil, BPCL and HPCL -- to get ready to set up the largest refining and petrochemicals complex in the public sector before 2017-end in coastal Maharashtra.

"I have just asked the state-run refiners to work on setting up an oil refinery-cum-petrochem complex in the public sector in western Maharashtra, which should be largest in the public sector. Though it's up to these companies to work out the details, I can assure you that ground-breaking for the proposed project would happen before the end of 2017," Pradhan told reporters.

Considering the fact that the largest refineries are of 15 MTPA capacity, the proposed one should have higher capacity than the two IOC refineries in Paradip and Panipat. The announcement came at an event to dedicate the fourth crude distillation unit of BPCL set up here at an investment of Rs 1,419 crore.

When asked for details, such as land and resources for such a huge project considering the skewed finances of IOC, BPCL and HPCL (according to him they have lost a whopping Rs 10,000 crore this year so far on inventory losses alone), he said, "As the minister, my job is to give broader policy guidance and not look into specifics."

The largest oil refineries in the public sector are being run by IndianOil in Panipat and Paradip, with an installed capacity of 15 MTPA each, while the country is also home to the world's largest single location refinery complex at Jamnagar being run by Reliance Industries. RIL's first plant has a capacity of 30 MTPA, while its second unit has an installed capacity of 28 MTPA. Essar Oil also operates a 20 MTPA refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat.

But the minister spoke more on his grand vision about the proposed petchem complex, saying the plant would be built in such a manner that it will be a global oil and petchem hub.

On crude price

Pradhan said the average crude price for oil products currently being sold is $50-55 a barrel and not $34-35 a barrel, which is the current international price. "State-run oil companies are making heavy inventory losses as their average crude price is much higher than the present market price.

They have lost over Rs 10,000 crore so far this year on inventory losses alone. So how can you accuse them of not reducing the retail prices?" Pradhan quipped.

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