Land allotted to it cancelled for not grounding project in time

After the State government cancelled the allotment of 1,500 acres at Atchyutapuram, the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited has stepped up efforts to revive its proposed Greenfield oil refinery-cum-petrochemical complex.

The project, which envisaged a 15 million tonne refinery with an investment of $10 billion, received a big jolt a month ago with the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation cancelling the allotment of 1,500 acres in the AP Special Economic Zone for not grounding the project on time.

The project was proposed in 2005-06 in the Visakhapatnam-Kakinada Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR).

The land was allotted in 2007 on the basis of a five-way alliance arrived at by HPCL, Gas Authority of India Ltd., Oil India, Mittal Energy, and TOTAL of France. The project did not materialise as Mittal Energy and TOTAL backed out of it as a fallout of global meltdown.

HPCL had also held informal talks to rope in GMR in the place of Mittal Energy and TOTAL. Unconfirmed reports said that Saudi Aramco was being contacted to invest in the project as an anchor tenant.

Master Plan

Though the PCPIR notification was issued five years ago, there was not much progress so far.

The Master Plan is still in the preparation stage. Except a few agreements, the PCPIR has not made any significant progress. Originally, it was conceived that the PCPIR, with several express highways and product specific SEZs, would attract an investment of $75 billion in the first five years of implementation in an area spread over 603 square kilometres.

Sources told The Hindu that the PCPIR project wing of HPCL was likely to seek 3,500 acres in total for the refinery and petrochemical complex – part of it in APSEZ and the remaining in the adjoining area.

HPCL's Visakh Refinery, which is also located close to the proposed project, is undergoing expansion. It has a production capacity of 8.3 million tonne per annum.

Visakhapatnam is expected to emerge as a hub for petrochemical complex if proposal for investment of Rs.20,000 crore by a Kuwait firm and another American company in refineries in the PCPIR area materialises along with HPCL's Greenfield refinery.

Visakhapatnam Port has plans to become gateway to South East Asia, as the city has easy access to transhipment hubs in Singapore, Colombo, and Bangkok.

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