Developing the domestic petrochemical industry will be the next area of focus with oil companies consolidating their position in the market for fuel, said Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

The Petroleum Ministry and Petrochemical Ministry are working together to resolve issues relating to the five Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Regions (PCPIRs) planned in the different parts of the country. This will add to the growth of the industry, he said.

Addressing top executives from industry and diplomats at Breakfast with BL , an interaction organised by BusinessLine here on Saturday, Pradhan said petrochemicals is a sunrise area and top priority for the government as it has huge potential for investment and employment generation.

Petrochemicals are raw materials for a wide range of industry, particularly affordable products such as textiles, furniture and roofing material. So far public sector oil companies had concentrated on meeting the needs for products such as petrol, diesel, kerosene and naphtha.

Now they are comfortable with a cumulative refinery capacity of 235 million tonnes a year against a demand for about 200 million tonnes. The government is also exploring the possibility of “monetising petrochemical resources in Iran with our petrochemical industry,” he said.

He was responding to a question from S Ilanahai, Managing Director, Cetex Petrochemicals, on the need for more information on petrochemicals available from public sector refineries and support for the development of the proposed PCPIR in Tamil Nadu.

The Petroleum Minister said major expansions are planned in Chennai Petroleum Corporation refinery at Chennai, and a mega refinery is planned in the Konkan region with the participation of three public sector oil refineries and foreign companies.

To a comment by S Ramasundaram, Managing Director, Nagarjuna Oil Corporation, that more coordination is needed between petrochemicals and petroleum ministries to expedite PCPIRs, Pradhan said both the ministries are coordinating closely and are in a ‘cooperative mood.’ All the PCPIRs are in similar condition of implementation, it is not just that Tamil Nadu’s has been delayed, he said.

“Petrochemicals are the area of the future and we are all on the job and working in tandem,” he assured.

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