To raise the group's refining capacity to 80.7 mt by 2012

Indian Oil Corporation has embarked on a major expansion plan to raise its refining capacity to 80.70 million tonnes by 2012, Director (Refineries) B. N. Banakpur said here on Friday.

Elaborating on the expansion plan, Mr. Bankapur said the corporation would expand its Haldia refinery in West Bengal by 1.5 million tonnes to 7.5 million tonnes and the Panipat unit in Haryana by three million tonnes to 15 million tonnes this year, to take the company's total refining capacity to 54.2 million tonnes annually.

The corporation has now a refining capacity of 49.70 million tonnes in eight refineries it directly owns and together with its subsidiaries — CPCL-Chennai 9.50 million tonnes and Narimanam one million tonnes — the IOC group's refining capacity stands at 60.20 million tonnes. After completing the expansion projects in Haldia and Panipat, the group will have refining capacity of 64.7 million tonnes by the end of 2010.

He said the group's refining capacity would rise to 80.7 million tonnes by 2012 primarily with the commissioning of 15 million tonnes a year Paradip refinery in Orissa.

On the fuel quality improvement projects, Mr. Bankapur said the petrol and diesel quality improvement projects at all its refineries had been completed and were producing and supplying Euro-IV grade fuel. Four projects at Digboi, Haldia, Barauni (Bihar) and Gujarat refineries had been registered under the Clean Development Mechanism.

“We are challenged by stricter environmental norms in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases, climate change issues, growing demand for better product quality, emerging frontier technologies and economies of scale for sustainable development, among others,'' he said.

With the economy projected to grow at a rapid pace in the next two decades, demand for oil and gas is expected to increase at an annual rate of about 3.5 per cent, making India among the largest consumers of oil and gas in the world.

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