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No LPG shortage talk after RIL fire: Govt

Though there might be a shortfall in its output, RIL is reassuring it has enough stock, report Deepak Joshi and Arun Kumar.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 22:19 IST

The Government on Thursday dismissed unwarranted apprehensions of cooking gas shortage in the country due to a fire at Reliance Industries' Jamnagar refinery.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said the Reliance refinery was operating at near normal capacity and the country had adequate stocks to meet contingencies.

“Any panic on this account is unwarranted. RIL is confident that they will be able to meet all demands,” he said.

On the shortage of petroleum products including LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), Reliance Industries president (Jamnagar), PK Kapil, said there would be no shortage of any petroleum product because of the fire.

“There will be no impact, whatsoever, on the financial performance of the refinery, or for that matter in the final products,” he said. “Jamnagar refinery produces 7,500 tonnes of LPG per day. Today the refinery is producing close to that figure," he said.

The minister said that there might be a slight shortfall in RIL’s production for one or two days, but the company has assured that it has stocks to meet requirement for 9 to 10 days. Besides, public sector companies have stocks for 14 to 15 days, he added.

However, state-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has floated a tender to import five LPG cargoes of 13,000 tonnes each to meet any likely shortfall in LPG arising from the fire.

One senior RIL official that the Jamnagar refinery, which meets about one-fifth of country's LPG demand, had enough stocks to meet requirements for the next one week and by that time the production would have been restored.

To restart the unit – Vaccum Gas Oil II(VGO II) -- and pinpoint the cause of fire, the RIL management has appointed two independent committees.

One specialist committee from outside including some foreign experts will investigate the cause of the fire thoroughly and ensure that this would not be repeated, Kapil said.

Another specialist task force has been formed to start inspecting the damage and start working on re-starting the plant. “We are confident that the plant will be re-started shortly,” he added.

The entire plant is running at full capacity, barring the fire-hit desulphurisation unit. A diesel hydrotreater that was shut following the fire at the adjacent vacuum gasoil hydrotreater is back in operation and all other units are operating at full capacity, Reliance officials said.

First Published: Oct 26, 2006 11:03 IST