Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) is likely to finalise the location for its mega petroleum refinery on the Konkan coast soon. The Maharashtra government has shown the refinery firm six sites the company for setting up the largest refinery in the country, which will be built at a cost of Rs 1760 billion (trillion). IOCL is also on the lookout for a foreign partner who will co-invest in the project.
B Ashok, chairman of IOCL, said, "Considering the demand growth in our country, we feel that there is definitely a need for setting up a very large capacity in the west coast because it has natural advantage in terms of crude import and coast because it will give us tremendous flexibility in terms of crude sourcing and so on and we have identified Maharashtra as a state where we need to put up this refinery. IOCL will take the leadership role in this which already we have some sort of an understanding within the three companies (BPCL, HPCL and IOCL)."
He said the company is now evaluating at least half a dozen pieces of land shown to the company, adding that he is hopeful that they will firm up the plan soon. "Because it's going to be an integrated refining and petrochemicals complex, the technological side of the new complex is being worked out. We are almost clear about what are the fuels or what products are going to be manufactured here and so on. We have already made an assessment of that and once we are able to firm up the land we should go through the approval process very quickly," he said.
The refinery could be a venture where even foreign investment can potentially be invited, he said. "But at the moment, we have an understanding between three oil marketing companies -- IOCL, BPCL and HPCL and between three of us, shareholding will be in the ratio of 50%, 25%, 25%, or 2:1:1. But if there is going to be investment from abroad, then our stakes will shrink accordingly." Ashok said all the required environmental precautions will be adhered to while setting up the refinery. "Environment issues we need to factor in when we are setting up such a large project. It is going to be a really mega venture, today whatever facilities we are putting up, it is all after being mindful and taking into account the current green environment which is prevalent all over the world. We cannot have emissions beyond a level, we cannot produce products which are unacceptable in the marketplace. All those things have been factored," he said.
The cost assessment, Ashok said, for the refinery is about Rs 1760 billion. "We are aware of the people (foreign players) who are interested in the project of this size. The quantum of land required for the refinery, we have asked for, is around 15,000 acre, but there is no hard and fast rule of 15,000 acre; it has to be above a threshold point, but depending upon the condition of the land, the green area that we need to position there, we will have to take a view as to what is available and whether we can construct it. However, 30% will go away for the green belt for this, he said