Rajasthan insists on refinery at Barmer for Cairn crude

Vol 10, PW 24 (05 Apr 07) People & Policy

Rajasthan state authorities show no sign of giving up their long-standing demand for a refinery at Barmer to process crude from Cairn Energy’s fields.

A source in the state capital Jaipur tells us chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia will shortly reply to oil minister Murli Deora’s 14th February letter about the proposed Barmer refinery, or lack of it. We are told a draft reply is already on Scindia’s table.

“Deora’s letter is a typical politician’s letter – trying to say â€کyes’ and â€کno’ in the same breath,â€‌ we are told. “He says he also wants a refinery at Barmer but that the issue should be settled between the state government and ONGC.

â€‌ In his letter Deora stresses the “distinct characteristicsâ€‌ of Cairn’s Rajasthan crude, which make it difficult to process and refine. “Deora says that Cairn has submitted a field development plan and that plateau production of 150,000 b/d will be maintained for four years.

â€‌ Rajasthan authorities tell us Deora is being less than candid about Cairn’s discoveries and their production potential. “The development plan has been approved for only five fields as of now,â€‌ says our source.

“But there are 20 fields on the block.â€‌ He adds: “We also have technical people with us who can understand some of these things.

â€‌ Rajasthan says it disagrees with Deora’s statement that 150,000 b/d plateau production from Cairn will last only for four years. “We say it will last eight years,â€‌ adds our source.

“Production will go down to 55,000 b/d in 12 years and 33,000 b/d in about 20 years.â€‌ By this time, we are told, “it is likely that more discoveries will be made on the (Cairn) block.

â€‌ Rajasthan authorities say their state is being victimised by Delhi because the opposition BJP party rules it. “They (Congress party-ruled government of India) are playing politics at the cost of Rajasthan’s people.