‘HPCL has already approached the State government to expedite the process of land allotment’

With no positive response from two private firms to go ahead with their investments in PCPIR, the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) is considering re-allotment of 1,500 acres at Atchutapuram for establishment of a 15-million tonne refinery-cum-petrochemical complex by HPCL.

Sources said the State-owned HPCL has already approached the State government to expedite the process for allotment of the land, which was taken away from HPCL last year following failure of the company to launch work on the refinery project within the stipulated period.

“There is no progress yet on the two private refinery proposals. The government is considering HPCL plea for re-allotment of 1500 acres,” APIIC Zonal Manager (Special Economic Zone) C. Yathi Raju told The Hindu.

The project, which was originally estimated to involve an investment of Rs.45,000 crore, became a non-starter due to backing out of Mittal Energy and TOTAL of France from the five-way alliance due to losses suffered by them in the aftermath of international market meltdown. Besides HPCL, GAIL and Oil India were the other partners in the alliance.

“We have already made a request and hope that a larger extent of land will be allotted for the project,” K. Murali, who recently retired as Director (Refineries) of HPCL, said. He said HPCL was in the process of scouting for suitable partners to go ahead with the project.

The land located adjacent to APSEZ, which was cancelled despite pleas by HPCL to extend the deadline to start the project, was allotted in 2007. The cancellation was made in the backdrop of two major investment plans announced by the State government. The proposals made by Amerind Petroleum Private Limited to relocate a closed refinery from the United States at a cost of Rs.11,196 crore to produce 7.5 million tonne in first phase and another by Watya India Consortium – owned by Kuwait-based Al Quebla Al Watya Inc Group’s refinery, for four lakh barrels per day, at a cost of Rs.20,000 crore have remained on paper for a long time.

Opposed

Several environmental groups and political parties had opposed the two refinery proposals -- relocation of the closed unit from Westville in Gloucester County and another by a less known Kuwaiti firm.

PCPIR proposed between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada in an area of 603 sq. km is expected to attract an investment of $75 billion during first five years.

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