The oil and gas sector in Maharashtra is in news these days with Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, signing a pact with Indian Oil Corp Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd to develop a mega refinery in Ratnagiri. The proposed refinery is expected to process 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day or around 60 million metric tonnes per annum, besides providing feedstock for petrochemicals.The total cost of the project is estimated to be close to Rs 2.9 lakh crore. But that is not the only one.
According to information provided by Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, there are 13 other projects, costing Rs 100 crore and above, that are presently under implementation by the oil and gas central public sector enterprises in Maharashtra. The total estimated initial cost of the projects is worth Rs 10,495 crore. Of this amount, the largest investments are in the refinery sector, worth close to Rs 8,090 crore. It is followed by investments in pipeline, worth Rs 1,660 crore. The projects have created 5,500 jobs since June 2015, Pradhan said. The biggest project (after the Aramco joint venture) is HPCL’s refinery expansion in Mumbai, whose cost is estimated at Rs 5,060 crore. It is expected to be complete by June 2020.
It is followed by IOCL’s Koyali-Ahmednagar-Solapur pipeline, which is likely to soak up investments worth Rs 1,945 crore and HPCL’s Uran-Chakan/Shikrapur LPG pipeline with an investment of Rs 723.40 crore.
However, according to Pradhan’s data, only six of the 13 projects have a visible completion date. For the rest, there are delays, despite continued investments. The main reasons for the delay in certain projects, as reported by the project implementing agencies, include delay in land acquisition, delay in getting receipt of environment and forest clearances, receipt of statutory approvals, local body/municipal permissions and contractual issues, the minister said. Now, there are fears that even the Armaco joint venture might get delayed because of opposition from the Shiv Sena.
But Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said he has proposed to go ahead with it.