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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

High alert sounded at oil, gas units near Pak border

A former chairman and managing director of a refinery said security of all vital oil stations are crucial for the country and the government has standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2019 22:59 IST
Rajeev Jayaswal
Rajeev Jayaswal
Hindustan Times
Emissions rise from chimneys at the Vadinar Refinery complex operated by Nayare Energy Ltd., formerly known as Essar Oil Ltd. and now jointly owned by Rosneft Oil Co. and Trafigura Group Pte., at dusk near Vadinar, Gujarat.
Emissions rise from chimneys at the Vadinar Refinery complex operated by Nayare Energy Ltd., formerly known as Essar Oil Ltd. and now jointly owned by Rosneft Oil Co. and Trafigura Group Pte., at dusk near Vadinar, Gujarat.(Bloomberg via Getty Images)
         

The government has issued a high alert for all vital oil and gas installations, particularly those within the air-strike range from Pakistan, including public and private sector refineries located in Panipat (Haryana), Bathinda (Punjab), Jamnagar and Vadinar (Gujarat), and the crucial offshore producing field, the Mumbai High, officials with direct knowledge of the matter said.

“An alert was sounded after a directive from the home ministry received on Tuesday,” a petroleum ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has world’s largest refinery complex in Jamnagar with total annual crude oil processing capacity of 68.2 million tonnes. Nayara Energy Ltd (formerly Essar Oil Ltd) has another 20 million tonne refinery at Vadinar, which is close to Jamnagar. Other vital installations on the high alert are state-owned Indian Oil Corporation’s 15-million tonne Panipat refinery and the 11.3-million tonne Bathinda refinery, which is jointly promoted by state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and private firm, Mittal Energy Investment Pte Ltd, Singapore.

Queries sent to the petroleum ministry, RIL, Nayara Energy, IOC and Bhatinda refinery did not elicit any response.

A former chairman and managing director of a refinery said security of all vital oil stations are crucial for the country and the government has standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place. “Internal security of oil and gas installations is the responsibility of the respective managements. The government takes care of protecting them from external threats and the government does not distinguish between public and private installations for the purpose of security from external threats,” he added on condition of anonymity.

Former chairman and managing director of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) RS Sharma recalled a similar situation that came up after 26/11 when terrorists from Pakistan sneaked into the financial capital of India via the sea route. “The oil installation at the open sea, spanning around 1,200 kilometers was like a sitting duck, but Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy ensured its safety,” he said.

According to a recent parliamentary standing committee report, the country has 23 refineries with a total annual processing capacity of 231 million tonnes. It has 15 gas processing plants, four liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, 680 oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) installations and more than 39,000 kilometers cross country pipelines spread across the country.

Offshore, there are 21 oil and gas production complexes, 252 well platforms and 33 rigs. On land, there are 301 production installations and 230 rigs.

Safety and security of oil and gas installations from both external threats and accidents have been major concerns of the central government as well as states hosting these national assets. In 2013, the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked the central government to implement the MB Lal committee report on safety of oil installations in the wake of a fire in IOC’s Hazira terminal in Surat.

According to executives of public sector oil companies and experts of the sector, some of the recommendations of the panel are yet to be implemented

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 22:59 IST

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