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Tuesday, Feb 26, 2002

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US co Cargill plans edible oil refinery at Paradip site

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Feb. 25

CARGILL, the US commodities giant, is planning to set up an edible oil refinery at Paradip, preferably within the premises of the Paradeep Phosphates Ltd (PPL), which is believed to have huge land lying idle in the port town, according to informed sources.

The cost of the five-lakh-tonne capacity per annum refinery, it is esitmated, will be Rs 150 crore. The refinery, it is learnt, will process imported palm oil.

The import of palm oil, it is felt, should pose no problem as PPL has already got a captive jetty in Paradip port. Even if PPL's captive jetty is not made available to the US firm to facilitate its import, there should not be any problem as Paradip Port Trust has promised to provide necessary facilities.

It might be noted that the throughput of the PPL jetty, which declined to five lakh tonnes in 2000-01 and is estimated to drop further to three lakh tonnes in 2001-02 from more than a million tonnes annually, is expected to shoot up again after the acquisition of PPL by K.K. Birla group.

PPL has a well-placed infrastructure with dedicated handling facilities, pipelines from the jetty to the factory for movement of imported acids, conveyor systems, bagging and stitching facilities and so on. In fact, the new owner, it is felt, could also use the facilities for importing fertilisers in bulk (in addition to importing raw materials needed to produce fertilisers) within the port premises and sell it directly for commercial purpose. PPL used the facilities for importing sulphuric and phosphoric acids, ammonia, rock phosphate, sulphur and also potash.

Meanwhile, two private firms are understood to have shown interest in importing ammonium nitrate in bulk through Paradip port. But ammonium nitrate being labelled as a hazardous cargo, the port authorities are not sure if the import in bulk could be allowed; alternatively, the import of the material in bags might be preferred. However, a decision in this regard will be finalised shortly after discussion with appropriate authorities.

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