IndianOil crude pipeline capacity expansion plan

Vol 15, PW 7 (06 Oct 11) Midstream & Downstream

IndianOil is preparing a tender to increase the capacity of its 826-km crude oil pipeline from its soon-to-be commissioned $6.54bn refinery at Paradip in Orissa to refineries at Barauni in Bihar and Haldia in West Bengal.

IOC directors approved a proposal to expand the carrying capacity of the Paradip to Barauni pipeline from 11m t/y of crude oil to 15.2m t/y in August and a tender is expected in three months. Crude imported by IOC currently lands at Paradip port and is transported through a 30-inch diameter, 328-km pipeline stretch to Haldia port.

At Haldia, IOC lands additional crude cargoes, which it pumps into the pipeline and transports through an 18-inch diameter, 498-km stretch to Barauni. From Barauni, the crude gets pumped further away to IOC’s Bongaigaon refinery in Assam through a separate 3m t/y capacity pipeline owned by junior state-owned oil explorer Oil India.

But an IOC source explains it wants to increase the capacity of the pipeline at Paradip to significantly reduce the quantity of crude which must be pumped in at Haldia. “Working at Haldia (at the mouth of the Ganga River) is becoming increasingly difficult,” he says.

“The ‘draft’ is reducing due to the rapid growth of silt deposits. Haldia needs sustained ‘capital dredging’ to increase the depth of the port so large-sized crude oil tankers can berth.

This isn’t likely to happen soon.” Under the estimated Rs580cr ($128m) proposed Paradip to Barauni pipeline expansion, IOC wants to set up a new crude oil pumping station at Balasore in Orissa and replace old pumping units at Paradip.

It also wants to lay a 60-km ‘loop’ pipeline along the Paradip to Haldia stretch, “like coronary bypass surgery on a patient whose arteries are constricted.”

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