Anil Agarwal asks Modi's help for Bhogat pipeline

Vol 16, PW 6 (04 Oct 12) People & Policy

Vedanta boss and Cairn India supremo Anil Agarwal will have to wait until mid-2013 or later before work on the delayed Salaya to Bhogat crude pipeline re-starts.

PETROWATCH learns a nervous looking Agarwal, accompanied by P. Elango, Cairn India’s interim managing director, flew to Gandhinagar on August 29 for a 40-minute meeting with chief minister Narendra Modi.

Agarwal wanted Modi’s help in kick-starting work on the stalled 24-inch, 74-km long pipeline that connects Bhogat with Cairn’s 610-km heated oil export pipeline from Barmer in Rajasthan to Salaya in Jamnagar district. Though busy with imminent elections, Modi gave Agarwal a patient hearing, assuring him of all help.

But Gujarat is in election mode and Agarwal will have to wait. Worse, on September 2, Jamnagar local official Sandeep Kumar was transferred to Anand district.

“Kumar knew what had to be done,” we hear. “But he has been transferred.

” His replacement, Navin Upadhyay, says he needs time to study the case. Adding to Cairn’s frustration is the transfer on election duty of FA Babi, the ‘competent authority’ appointed to secure ‘Right of User (RoU)’ permission.

“Until Babi returns,” we hear, “nothing will move.” Sensing an opportunity, Modi asked Agarwal about Gujarat.

“Why are you not in Gujarat” he said. To which Agarwal promised a “big investment” soon.

“Wait till January next year,” says a source. “The announcement will be made at the Vibrant Gujarat summit.

” But only if Modi wins the December state elections. To make Modi happy, Agarwal said Cairn is hiring 15 graduates from the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University.

He added that Vedanta had also set up a university in Orissa to which Modi shot back that Agarwal should also set up a university in Gujarat!