Digvijay Singh lobbies harder for Bina refinery

Vol 6, PW 3 (10 Apr 02) Midstream & Downstream

WE ALREADY know Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh is a committed champion of Bharat Petroleum's proposed 6m t/y Bina refinery.

Now we learn from Bhopal that Singh has again written to oil minister Ram Naik lobbying for the project. In a February letter, Singh is upset that the environment ministry and the Gujarat government are "more positive and supportive" of Essar Oil than BPCL over permission to lay a pipeline through the marine sanctuary near Vadinar.

Singh says Gujarat wants BPCL to lay the pipeline using a costlier mix of horizontal directional drilling but is letting Essar Oil use cheaper conventional methods. "I was surprised to learn about this," Singh points out.

"If such strong support is now being provided to the pipeline of a private company, they should give similar consideration to a public sector company." He adds that the Essar pipeline passes through a larger chunk ofthe protected marine sanctuary. Singh wants Gujarat to let BPCL lay its pipeline to Bina using conventional methods.

"This will make a substantial difference to the capital cost and perennial operating expenses of the refinery," adds Singh. "Particularly in the liberalised scenario of the future." Singh also wants Naik's personal intervention to get official clearance for the revised equity structure following Oman Oil's decision not to invest.

"I do hope," adds Singh, "that your personal support will ensure the note is submitted by the cabinet secretariat to the committee on economic affairs for their approval, instead of getting stuck in some procedural practices from the past."