Monday, 30th October 2017

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Security wake-up call for oil

ISPRL is responsible for maintaining the country’s strategic petroleum reserves

By R. Suryamurthy in New Delhi
  • Published 23.09.19, 12:38 AM
  • Updated 23.09.19, 12:38 AM
  • a min read
Aramco’s oil processing facility at Abqaiq after the recent attack. (AP)

The drone attack on Saudi oil facilities has put India’s energy firms on high alert. The petroleum ministry has asked them to carry out security audit and plug any loopholes to prevent similar incidents in the country.

Senior oil ministry officials said energy firms in the country have been asked to do security audit of oil refineries, pipelines and other establishments as they could become the targets of terrorists. They have also been asked to put in place a mechanism to thwart such acts.

The drone strikes at Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities by Yemen’s Houthi rebels disrupted around half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity, with the US blaming Iran for the attacks.

Officials said a meeting would soon be held to review the situation and an appropriate action plan to deal with such threats would be worked out.

Sources said the security review was an ongoing process and the drone attack on the Saudi facilities was a wake-up call to reassess the situation and plan counter measures.

The heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and recent reports of Islamabad-backed militants planning to attack vital installations in coastal areas has put refineries and energy exploration operations in Bombay High on extra vigil.

The refining capacity in the country has increased to around 250 million tonnes (mt) a year from 62mt. The refineries have oil reserves equivalent to at least 65 days of net imports in units, pipeline and transit.

While state-owned refineries are manned by CISF personnel, the para-military force had taken over counter-terror duties at Nayara Energy’s refinery in the Vadinagar area recently. Reliance Industries’ Jamnagar refinery, too, has a CISF cover.

India’s strategic oil reserves in Visakhapatnam has a storage capacity of 1.33 million tonnes, Mangalore has 1.5mt and Padur has 2.5mt.

Indian Strategic Petrol Reserves (ISPRL) is responsible for maintaining the country’s strategic petroleum reserves.