Commissioning of west coast refinery delayed by 3 years

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Published: December 12, 2018 4:46:45 AM

Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals, with an annual capacity of 60 million tonne, was to be commissioned by 2022, but farmers of the area have been protesting and have received the support of Opposition parties in Maharashtra

The deadline for commissioning of the $44-billion mega refinery on the west coast of India has been extended by three years to 2025 as work on the world’s largest refinery will start only by 2020 as the project is facing land acquisition hurdles.

Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals (RRPCL), with an annual capacity of 60 million tonne, was to be commissioned by 2022, but farmers of the area have been protesting and have got support of Opposition political parties in Maharashtra, including Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.

“The refinery will be commissioned in 2025. The construction work is expected to start by 2020 as land will be available by 2019 — then it will require four years for mechanical completion and one year for commissioning,” said B Ashok, chief executive officer of RRPCL.

While India’s state-run oil marketing companies — Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL — equally share 50% stake in the joint venture, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Saudi Aramco hold 25% each.

The Aramco and Adnoc — who are looking to invest in the entire oil value chain, including fuel retailing, in India — investment will be the highest for the country in the sector.

Global consulting firm Jacobs is working on the configuration of the refinery which is expected to have 30% facility dedicated for petrochemicals. To resolve the issue of land, a high-level committee of experts has been set up, state-run Indian Oil had announced in September. The panel, headed by former Maharashtra chief secretary DM Sukthankar, has been entrusted to find ‘satisfactory resettlement and rehabilitation of the project affected people’.

The Maharashtra government is likely to take action after the committee submits its report by March.

Former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar, professor Abhay Pethe (former chair professor and director, department of economics, University of Mumbai), professor JB Joshi (president, Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Mumbai and former director, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai) and Dr SB Kadrekar, former vice-chancellor Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth (Agricultural University), Dapoli (Ratnagiri district) are the other member of the committee.

According to sources, the protestors have been violent and have prevented RRPCL executives from visiting the site in the Konkan region.

The committee has been empowered and expected to interact with all stakeholders, and commission studies to ascertain environmental, social, economic and cultural impact assessment.

Ashok added that the land issue is getting resolved. “The government is working on the land acquisition and we expect the whole land to come to us together,” he added. Saudi Aramco is expected to supply 50% of the crude oil requirement of the refinery along with sharing technology. The project, once operational, is expected to increase India’s GDP by around 2% and Maharashtra’s GDP will get a boost of 12%.

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