Tata â€کNano' project forces re-route of IOC pipeline

Vol 12, PW 17 (29 Jan 09) Midstream & Downstream

Crude supplies to IOC’s 13.7m t/y Koyali refinery might be disrupted in February or March because a section of the 148-km-long crude oil pipeline from Viramgam to Koyali crosses 1100 acres allotted to Tata Motors, which is planning to build the world’s cheapest mass produced car.

PETROWATCH learns that the industries department of the Gujarat government, which allotted the land for a factory to build the Tata Nano, wants IOC to “re-route a patchâ€‌ of the pipeline at Sanand, where the Tata plant is coming up at frantic speed. “We have decided to write to IOC to move the pipeline so that construction work for the project goes smoothly,â€‌ an official tells PETROWATCH.

“We are racing against time to ensure that the first Nano rolls out of Sanand in mid-November this year and we want this problem ironed out quickly.â€‌ Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, we hear, is likely to hammer out a “fast track solution.

â€‌ IOC’s pipeline at Sanand (one to five metres below surface, depending on the topography) belongs to the 148-km-long section of the 1870-km-long Salaya to Mathura pipeline that brings crude from Salaya port (near Vadinar) at Jamnagar on the Gujarat coast to Koyali in Gujarat), another 8m t/y refinery at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and IOC’s 12m t/y refinery at Panipat in Haryana. A Viramgam-based IOC official confirms the company is aware of the problem, but not the proposed solution.

“First let us receive the letter,â€‌ he said. “Then we will see.

â€‌ One area of contention centres on who should pay the cost of shifting the pipeline. “The pipeline belongs to IOC,â€‌ an industries department bureaucrat says.

“Obviously IOC has to pay.â€‌ Not so, says IOC, which cites an example 20 years ago, when the Gujarat government paid to divert an IOC pipeline that hindered construction of the controversial Narmada Dam in Bharuch.

"The Viramgam to Koyali pipeline was commissioned in 2003,â€‌ adds IOC. “Nobody knew the Nano plant would come here.

We are ready to help but they should pay the cost."