Expansion of Visakh Refinery, setting up of Greenfield refinery near Visakhapatnam on the agenda

State-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is keen on expediting the process for its Rs.60,000-crore investment plan for expansion of Visakh Refinery and setting up of a Greenfield refinery near the city.

In a recent interview, HPCL Director (Refineries) K. Murali told The Hindu that the company was expecting the A.P. government to be proactive and clear the two projects on a fast-track mode.

While the refinery expansion hit a roadblock due to moratorium declared in the bowl area of the city on Greenfield and Brownfield projects after Central Pollution Control Board gave ‘critically polluted’ cluster tag to the industrial area here, the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Limited cancelled allotment of 1,500 acres at Atchutapuram last year for the proposed 15 million tonne refinery-cum-petrochemical complex. The project would have attracted an estimated investment of Rs.50,000 crore.

APIIC cancelled the land allotment made in 2007 despite several pleas by HPCL to extend the time for grounding the project. HPCL had entered into five-way alliance with GAIL, Oil India, Mittal Energy and TOTAL of France, but the project could not take off as the latter two consortium partners backed out following global meltdown.

“We want the land, in fact, a greater area to revive our mega refinery and petrochemical project in the Visakhapatnam-Kakinada Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR),” Mr. Murali said.

Atchutapuram area falls in PCPIR, which is envisaged in 603 sq. km area with an investment of $75 billion.

“The CPCB did the study three years ago and the critically polluted cluster tag was given as at that time. “Now, it should be reconsidered after a scientific study to find out the factors causing groundwater and other forms of pollution. There should be realistic perspective into all the parameters to lift the embargo,” he said.

Admitting that old industrial units had less efficient designs, he said HPCL was putting in place new units with critical technologies to adhere to overall emission norms.

Stating that the production of cost of new private refineries was very less, he said the public sector units should be allowed to expand their existing units to make their projects viable.