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Paradip-Haldia pipeline project gains steam

New Delhi, Jan. 28: Indian Oil Corporation is pushing ahead with a Rs 1,000-crore mega project to lay an inter-state pipeline between Paradip and Haldia.

Sources say the pipeline project is being given precedence over the Paradip refinery itself, which has been put on the backburner due to the current petro goods glut in the country.

The proposed pipeline will run along a 300-km independent land route after which it will join the existing Haldia-Barauni crude oil pipeline. The new pipeline will have a capacity of 10 million tonne per annum. It is expected to feed the expanding Haldia and Barauni refineries.

Under the IOC plan, crude oil brought to Paradip port will be unloaded at a single point mooring (SPM) which will be installed in the Bay of Bengal at a distance of about 20 km from the Orissa coast. The sea at this point is deep enough to anchor very large crude carriers (VLCCs). This is expected to drastically reduce the cost of transporting oil to the Haldia refinery as charges for smaller ships that currently bring crude at Sandheads are much higher.

The costs further shoot up as crude from these tankers is then transhipped to Haldia on even smaller vessels due to the shallow waters of the Hooghly.

According to IOC officials, Haldia is also getting increasingly congested and it is becoming difficult to cater to the increased capacity of the Haldia refinery.

As many as 155 vessels are reported to have docked at Haldia during December 2002, surpassing the previous record of 150 vessels in March, 2001. Over eight lakh tonnes of crude was handled at the docks during December. This represents a five-lakh-tonne increase since July 2002.

IOC is of the view that the pipeline would also help decongest the port as it handles coal, steel, fertilisers etc in very large quantities as well.

The plan envisages the creation of a tank farm at Paradip capable of handling high sulphur and low sulphur crude as the two varieties have to be stored separately. As many as 15 tanks each of 60,000 kilo litres capacity will be set up for this purpose.

The pipeline route will originate from the tank farm which is proposed to be located at the south-east end of the Paradip refinery area. It will then run along the Santra creek after and then move in a north-east direction until it finally joins the existing right-of-way of the Haldia-Barauni crude oil pipeline.

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