Cairn plans huge trucking operation for Mangala crude

Vol 12, PW 18 (12 Feb 09) People & Policy

Rajasthan state government delay in issuing Right of User (RoU) permission to lay a crude pipeline across its territory will force Cairn India to mount a massive trucking operation to evacuate first production from the Mangala oilfield in Barmer.

PETROWATCH learns the newly-elected Congress government in Rajasthan issued Cairn the RoU on January 15 under pressure from Delhi for a 154-km stretch of the 673-km pipeline that will run from Barmer to Bhogat on the Gujarat coast. But this won’t be in time for first production, which Cairn is hoping will begin in the third quarter of this year.

By contrast, the pipeline should be laid and fully operational only by the fourth quarter of this year. Rajasthan authorities were holding out in the hope of getting a refinery at Barmer to refine Cairn crude and out of concern that the state will lose sales tax on Mangala production if the bills are issued from Bhogat (Gujarat).

Contacted by PETROWATCH, Cairn confirms it is planning a trucking operation and says it is well up to the task. “We are already running a trucking operation carrying between 6000 and 10,000 b/d from our CB-OS/2 (Lakshmi and Gauri) fields,â€‌ says a source.

“This comes to Suvali (in Gujarat) and is trucked to customers.â€‌ Cairn is presently running trials with tanker trucks ahead of first production this year.

Mangala crude is waxy with an API measure of 28 so tanker trucks in theory ought to be heated and insulated so the oil does not solidify during transportation. But, says Cairn: “In some of the trial runs we’ve found that it is not necessary to use the heating element all the time.

â€‌ Each truck will carry between 120 and 150 barrels of oil. Given that initial Mangala production will be 30,000 b/d Cairn will need a large number of trucks moving up and down between the oil processing facilities at Barmer and Bhogat.