Bhargava of OCC unimpressed with Reliance claim

Vol 5, PW 11 (18 Jul 01) Midstream & Downstream

Undeterred by Reliance's slick and professional presentation, Bhargava responds to another key complaint: that the government has allowed expansion projects in full knowledge that Reliance was constructing a 27m t/y refinery.

Not so, argues the OCC chief. "RPLs capacity, as per revised LoI issued in 1994 was 15m t/y," he writes.

"Therefore RPLs decision to enhance capacity of the refinery to 27m t/y was with the full knowledge of the expansions of other refineries, which had been approved by the government in 1996." He further argues that one of the conditions of allowing Reliance to build a refinery was that it should "export products if required" and that "such a condition was not imposed" on other state sector refinery expansions. He adds: "Generally, upliftment from Reliance has been in line with supply plan except in cases where products are not available due to prior commitments for exports or reasons best known to Reliance.

It may be added that RPL has been operating with very low inventories for reasons of economics." On the question of transparency, Bhargava is categorical: "OCC has endeavoured to be as transparent in its working as possible. RPL is a member in industry forums like industry co-ordination meeting, supply plan meeting, where all issues pertaining to operation of refineries, distribution of petroleum products are discussed.

Therefore RPL is aware of the details and could seek clarifications as required."