The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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IOC steps in to rescue Petronet pipeline

New Delhi, July 1: Petronet has roped in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to bail out the Rs 660-crore Mangalore-Bangalore pipeline project.

Engineers India Ltd (EIL), which has been entrusted with the execution of the project, had managed to complete most of the work but the design was dependent on electricity from the Karnataka Power Corporation to run the system.

However, the Rs 30-crore project for putting up high-tension cables and transformers for supplying power to the pipeline system was bogged down in red-tape.

IOC will be going in for diesel power generating systems to get the pipeline on stream as a result of which the electricity from Karnataka Power will not be required. The oil major is getting around Rs 50 lakh for the consultancy work.

A senior official told The Telegraph that IOC has a lot of experience in running pipelines in remote areas on diesel power generating sets. In fact, this is the preferred mode for operating pipelines situated far away from a power source. IOC officials are of the view that EIL had overlooked this vital aspect at the planning stage which has, in fact, led to the red-tape problem.

This delay has started adversely impacting the economics of the project. The oil companies are also losing money as they have to pay higher transport costs with 600 trucks winding their way through the western ghats every day carrying the petroleum products from the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) to Bangalore.

The 364-km pipeline has been laid for carrying petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation turbine fuel and naphtha. These liquid fuels have to be sent in batches through the pipeline and the system requires an assured power supply for maintaining a constant pumping pressure along the entire 365-km pipeline from Mangalore to Bangalore. Any fall in pressure at any point would result in the fuels getting mixed up and rendered unfit for use.

Pipelines are also considered the safest mode of transporting goods and reduce incidents of pilferage. Besides, the heavy tanker movement on the busy Mangalore-Bangalore highway poses a traffic hazard.

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