It will be for 10 weeks starting in July, units will be shutdown in stages

Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) is planning a 10-week-long maintenance shutdown of its refinery in suburban Manali starting July.

As this may affect the availability of petroleum products, oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil Corporation will be making alternative arrangements to meet the demand, especially that of petrol and diesel.

Since this is a planned shutdown, and to be taken up in stages, the companies, given the lead time available, are confident of managing the situation, say oil industry sources. A lot would depend on the arrangements and coordination between the companies, as otherwise the consequences are likely to be felt beyond the city as the refinery feeds petroleum products across the State.

The Manali refinery accounts for 10.5 million tonnes (MT) of the 11.5 MT refining capacity of the State. CPCL said it achieved a crude throughput of 10.56 million tonnes in 2011-12. It included the highest ever production of petrol, of one million tonne, and 3.91 million tonne of diesel.

CPCL, a group company of IOC, also owns the other refinery in the State – a one million-tonne facility in Cauvery Basin, Nagapattinam. IOC is in charge of the marketing of CPCL products. The bulk of the movement is through the Chennai-Tiruchi-Madurai (CTM) product pipeline of IOC from the Manali refinery.

The bulk of the requirements of the State are met from the Manali refinery, where petrol and diesel conforming to both the BS-IV fuel emission norms, supplied only in Chennai, as well as BS-III variety, supplied to the rest of Tamil Nadu, are produced.

CPCL products are also supplied to Bangalore, through a pipeline, and some parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Confirming the proposed maintenance shutdown of Manali refinery, CPCL managing director S. Venkataramana told The Hindu that the shutdown would be for 10 weeks starting July 7.

“Everything is planned,” he said, adding that as is the norm in the oil industry the shutdown would be in stages. Only one of the three units of the refinery would be taken up for maintenance at a time, thereby limiting the drop in production to the output of that particular unit.

Post the shutdown, the capacity of the refinery to produce BS IV fuels would increase by 0.6 million tonne. On the possible impact on availability of products during the shutdown, he said the oil marketing companies would be making arrangements to maintain supply. Besides CPCL, the State gets products from the Kochi Refinery of BPCL. HPCL also brings products from the Mangalore refinery.

Sources in the oil marketing companies said a few meetings had already been held to discuss alternative arrangements, from sourcing and quantity of products, logistics, berthing facilities at the port and availability of tanker lorries.

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