New Delhi, June 21: Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) wants to develop Panipat into ‘a strategic petroleum hub’ for the north by raising the capacity of its refinery there to 15 million tonnes.
While Rs 4,365-crore investment is already under way to double the existing capacity from 6 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes, IOC now wants to raise the capacity further to 15 million tonnes.
A senior IOC official told The Telegraph that a subcommittee of the board of directors has approved the plan to raise the capacity of the refinery by another 3 million tonnes through a low-cost de-bottlenecking route. This would entail an investment of Rs 300 crore.
Sources say this forms part of the strategic plan to ensure the energy security of the country. The location of the refinery is ideal to feed the defence forces that come under the crucial western and northern commands deployed in Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir. Moreover, Punjab and Haryana have registered the highest growth in demand for petro goods. The proximity of the refinery to Delhi gives it an added advantage.
Senior IOC officials feel that the Fortune-500 company lost out earlier under M. A. Pathan as chairman who signed a ‘lopsided’ agreement to market the products of the Reliance refinery instead of creating more capacity for IOC. As a result, the company's share in the refining business had gone down during his tenure. However, to be fair to Pathan he did not have the backing of the petroleum minister.