Good news in offing for Delhi on air pollution: Here is what BPCL, IOC have announced

By: | Published: November 24, 2017 4:04 AM

The National Capital Region (NCR) will be the first to enjoy the benefits of cleaner fuel with Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) already confirming that they will be ready to commence supply from the end of March next year.

BPCL, IOC, Madhya Pradesh, Bina refinery, Panipat refineries, BS VI fuel, Euro VI compliant vehicles, Mahindra & Mahindra, National Capital RegionThe Centre on November 15 brought forward the date for supply of BS-VI fuel to April 2018 from the earlier deadline of April 2020 to meet the emergency pollution levels in the National Capital Region. (AP)

The National Capital Region (NCR) will be the first to enjoy the benefits of cleaner fuel with Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) already confirming that they will be ready to commence supply from the end of March next year. The Centre on November 15 brought forward the date for supply of BS-VI fuel to April 2018 from the earlier deadline of April 2020 to meet the emergency pollution levels in the National Capital Region. And while there was speculation about the ability of the oil companies to meet the deadline, BPCL and IOC have now confirmed of meeting the same.  R Ramachandran, director — refineries at BPCL, told FE, “The Bina refinery in Madhya Pradesh already supplies to the National Capital Region. With the turnaround expected to get over next month, and after another one-two months of flushing, the plant will be ready to provide BS-VI fuel to the region.”

IOC too has confirmed its readiness to FE: “Plans are underway at Mathura and Panipat refineries to produce the BS-VI fuel. We only need to tweak the technology a bit to meet the requirement,” said a company spokesperson. BPCL is looking to meet around 40-50% of the total requirement for the NCR from the Bina refinery. “BPCL can individually handle around 40-50% of the volume required from the region that would be equivalent to 1.5 million tonne of high speed diesel (HSD) and 0.5 million tonne of petrol (motor spirit),” Ramachandran said.  BPCL is expanding the capacity of the Bina refinery to 7.8 mtpa by December-end from 6 mtpa at an investment of around Rs 3,500 crore, and the upgrade to produce BS-VI fuel will be completed next month with an investment of Rs 800 crore, Ramachandran said.

IOC too is looking to address a large share of the demand. “The company plans to meet around 50,000 kl/month of HSD and 48,000 kl/month of MS requirement from the NCR region,” the spokesperson said. IOC is investing about rS 12,000 crore on projects at its refineries to upgrade them to produce BS-VI fuels. Meanwhile, industry experts have expressed concerns over the availability of BS-VI compliant vehicles that will be ready to run on the cleaner fuel by March next year. The requirement as of now is to phase out old and vintage BS-I and BS-II vehicles that are older than 10-15 years and are the biggest contributors to the pollution in the country.

Sugato Sen, deputy director general of the SIAM, an association of automobile manufacturers in India, said it would be too early to start production of euro-VI-compliant vehicles by April 2018 and that too for one region. “All the plug and play technologies available in Europe and the US cannot be used in India because of technological challenges. These need to be tested and validated, without which there are chances of accidents. Keeping in view the time line specified by technology companies such as Delphi and Bosch, we will be ready to produce Euro-VI-compliant vehicles only by 2020.

Pawan Goenka, MD at Mahindra & Mahindra, recently said it was unlikely that automobile manufacturers would be able to do it so soon. “I don’t foresee any mainline player with multiple models being able to launch complete portfolio of BS-VI-compliant vehicles by April 2018,” he said.While this will limit benefits that can be accrued from a cleaner fuel, industry experts said BS-VI fuel can also be used by BS-III and BS-IV vehicles, offering some relief from pollution till the greener BS-VI-compliant vehicles make it to the road. India is the first and only country to have initiated a move directly from BS-IV fuel to BS-VI fuel, skipping BS-V altogether. The country adopted BS-IV only in April this year with an investment of `50,000 crore. Now, another `80,000 crore is being invested by refineries to meet the BS-VI norms.

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