| Clarity call
New Delhi, Jan. 3: Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has urged the petroleum ministry to take up the issue of bureaucratic red-tapism in importing equipment for its inter-state oil pipeline projects with the finance ministry.
IOC has told the petroleum ministry although it has been allowed to import equipment for its oil pipeline projects duty-free, it has to approach the customs authorities on a case to case basis for separate pieces of those equipment.
This often leads to delays of six to seven months which, in turn, adversely impacts the project work, the oil major has pointed out.
IOC has also sought for a general notification by the finance ministry covering the entire range of equipment required for the pipeline project so that it does not have to go through the lengthy procedures for each parts of the equipment imported.
The oil PSU has also expressed concern that it may lose its “competitive edge” due to the lengthy procedures involved in arranging these imports.
A senior IOC official told The Telegraph that various components such as pumping sets, electronic equipment, valves and tank mixers have often to be imported from separate companies and different countries.
“A case by case clearance involves lengthy procedures and if one piece of equipment does not arrive in time the entire project can get held up,” he said.
Citing the example of the Paradip-Haldia crude oil pipeline project, which is in full swing, the official said the pumps for the pipeline have been imported from Ruhr Pumpen of Germany while the gate valves have been imported from Babcock in the UK.
Similarly, the tank mixer for the pipeline project was imported from SPX, another UK company.
“While the pipeline project is heading for a completion, IOC officials have to run from pillar to post to get the duty waivers which wastes valuable executive time that could be put to better use by the company,” he added.
The pipes for the Paradip-Haldia project were supplied by the Steel Authority of India from its Bhilai plant. However, in some of the IOC’s pipeline projects, the pipes were imported from China through the international bidding route.
The other pipeline projects that IOC is undertaking include the Koyali-Ratlam pipeline project, which is being laid to evacuate the products from IOC’s Gujarat refinery and supply it to central India.
Similar problems over imports were also encountered in the recently completed Chennai-Trichy pipeline project, which will carry petroleum products from its Chennai refinery to the southern region.