ONGC to set up petroleum storage in Bikaner

Vol 8, PW 26 (06 Apr 05) Midstream & Downstream

India is moving faster than expected to achieve its goal of securing energy supplies.

A significant step in this direction was taken by ONGC late last month when it decided to set up an underground petroleum storage facility in salt caverns in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan. The petroleum storage is being set up to store crude oil imported for Mangalore refinery, a senior ONGC official tells us.

We think salt caverns are a good alternative to over ground steel storage tanks for storing Mangalore crude. Mangalore Refineries is ONGCs downstream subsidiary and currently operates a refinery at a capacity of 12m t/y, slated to increase to 15m t/y.

ONGC has identified a layered salt deposit area in northwest Rajasthans Bikaner Nagaur basin - spread over 10,000-sq km and holds several layers of Pre-Cambrian halite. According to the official, one of the halite (salt) layers is approximately 200-metres thick.

This and other layers sit 400 metres to 500 metres underground. We want to set up a pilot project with a capacity of 2m barrels of liquid volume, we learn.

If successful, the project will be commercialised and its capacity will be increased to 20m barrels of liquid volume. On 30th March, ONGC issued a limited tender seeking consultancy for preparation of a detailed feasibility report for the proposed strategic petroleum storage.

Stage one will see preparation of a pre-feasibility study by ONGCs in-house experts. Stage two will see preparation of a detailed feasibility study of salt cavern construction by the appointed consultant.

Stage three will see a pilot project of 2m barrels capacity based on the consultants report. Stage four depends on the results of the pilot project, which if successful, will see implementation of a commercial project to hold 20m barrels.

This will be constructed on the basis of a business model prepared by the successful consultant. The tender closes at 2pm on 31st May and will be opened two hours later.