Surge of new pipeline activity at NRL in Assam

Vol 22, PW 8 (07 Feb 19) Midstream & Downstream

Assam-based Numaligarh Refinery is setting up a new pipelines division to meet an expected surge in pipeline-laying activity under an ambitious Rs22,594cr ($3.15bn) plan to triple capacity from 3m to 9m t/y by November 2023.

"Even (our parent company) BPCL has only around 1000-km pipelines," managing director SK Barua tells this report in an exclusive interview from his first floor wood-panelled office at NRL’s corporate HQ in Guwahati. "But we are planning more than 2000-km of new pipelines."

Barua, who joined NRL in 1993 as its first permanent employee, said the new pipelines department would initially be headed by a general manager but later upgraded to division status with an executive director. On January 31, the first of several internal transfer letters to join the new pipelines division at head office in Guwahati was dispatched.

Barua also confirms that NRL received long-awaited formal approval of the Rs22,594cr project, including a Rs1020cr ($142m) government cash injection, on January 18 following cabinet approval two days earlier. This, he said, paves the way for a string of pipeline and EPC tenders beginning November 2019.

By then, said Barua, all environment ministry permission (for Assam) and coastal regulation approval (for a crude pipeline from Paradip) will be in hand. By July (2019), continues Barua, NRL hopes to have selected an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Financing (EPCF) consultant to oversee project completion that will see an estimated 8000 workers on site.