The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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IOC help sought for Numaligarh

New Delhi, Dec. 14: Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is toying with the idea of approaching Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to help it bail out the beleaguered Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) through the export route. Sources say BPCL is likely to seek a product swap arrangement for NRL that IOC has in place for its own subsidiary the neighbouring Bongaigaon Refineries and Petrochemcials Ltd (BRPL). The idea is reported to have figured in the discussions of the NRL management.

IOC is marketing some BRPL products in West Bengal and its immediate vicinity that is normally fed by its Haldia refinery. An equivalent quantity of products, that is rendered surplus due to the BRPL contribution, is exported from the Haldia refinery. It makes more economic sense to export from Haldia due to its coastal location than from the inland Bongaigaon refinery. However, since the price of petro goods in the domestic market is higher than the export price, the difference is debited to the BRPL account.

The current thinking in the company is that BPCL could also go in for a similar arrangement for its subsidiary NRL and help increase its throughput and improve capacity utilisation and profitability.

NRL has been forced to cut its throughput as it is not getting adequate railway wagons to evacuate its products. Unless the product storage tanks are cleared in time, further production cannot take place. It is reliably learnt that the refinery has already fallen short of its crude oil processing target by 150,000 tonnes.

There seems to be no respite in sight as NRL is currently dispatching its products to distant markets such as Tatanagar, Mughalsarai and even Bharatpur. The turnaround time for the tank wagons is around eight days.

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