Indian Oil may overcome every hurdle in setting up the Rs 30,000-crore refinery at Paradip, on the coasts of Odisha, within the revised timeline of end 2013.

But, that may not ensure best and most economic use of the 15 million tonne (mt) refining facility, as the State forest administration is yet to grant necessary approvals to build a Rs 1,800-crore sub-surface pipeline – designed to carry up to 5 mt of refined products to the hinterlands of the country – through the forests of Odisha.

In limbo for years

The pipeline project, initiated nearly three years ago, has already missed the September 2012 deadline.

And, chances are slim that the product evacuation system will be operational before the refinery is commissioned.

For records, the 1,100-km Paradip-Ranchi-Raipur pipeline, with a maximum diameter of one and a half feet, will be crucial for efficient transfer of products to Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

“We are still awaiting the stage-I approval from the Orissa Government,” an IOC source said adding that the Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh governments have already granted such approvals.

Incidentally, securing the state approval is not enough. The procedure demands, such approvals to be ratified by the Union Government which means more time to be killed before the company gets a go ahead.

And, once all approvals are in place IOC needs approximately 18 months to lay the Rs 1,800-crore pipeline through a number of rivers and estuaries.

The timeline may be extended in the case of unforeseen technical challenges as was witnessed by the oil major while laying Paradip-Haldia pipeline.

(This article was published on October 28, 2012)
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