All set for $3bn Numaligarh refinery upgrade

Vol 20, PW 12 (09 Mar 17) Midstream & Downstream

Numaligarh Refinery managing director P.

Padmanabhan is a confident man. Speaking to PETROWATCH, Padmanabhan tells us he expects approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for the BPCL-owned refinery's long-awaited upgrade from 3m t/y to 9m t/y within three months, or by May this year (2017).

If true, that's good news for a raft of contractors eagerly looking out for tenders related to the approximate Rs20,000cr ($3bn) upgrade. How is Padmanabhan so sure? He explains that usually state-owned companies chase the oil ministry with their proposals.

"But the ministry is chasing us and sending many queries," he said on March 3. "Three days ago we received several queries and received a follow-up call.

Things are moving." Narendra Modi wants to keep India's volatile north-eastern states happy and oil ministry officials know this. Numaligarh's upgrade is not just a way of creating jobs it is also of vital importance to the region's stability.

"Demand for petrol alone here is rising at 17% annually," adds Padmanabhan. "Without the expansion there will be a shortage in the northeast and parts of eastern India in six or seven years." Some work is already underway.

Numaligarh and the Paradip Port Trust are signing a MoU in the coming days at Bhubaneswar in Orissa to facilitate the allocation of land for storage tanks needed for the expansion. Expect oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan to attend.