The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited to stop operating three pipelines from the company’s Tondiarpet terminal, a move that may impact the supply of petrol and diesel in the city.
The order issued on Friday also covers the pipeline from which a suspected leak had households near the terminal complaining of oil in their borewells recently.
The directive that is bound to bring cheer to the residents is likely to lead to a disruption of supply of fuels, as one of the pipelines is being used by the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd refinery in Manali to evacuate furnace oil. Though a low value product, furnace oil figures in the tail end of the refinery chain and its evacuation is important for refining more crude oil.
While agreeing that there could be some disruption, officials of Indian Oil Corporation and CPCL said there was no need for alarm. The refinery has the option of switching over to another pipeline passing through the Korukkupet terminal of IOC.
For BPCL, the order has come despite maintaining that two of the three pipelines were not under use for sometime on account of issues associated with drop in pressure. Two pipelines, an official said, were filled with water, while the third was being used by CPCL.
Frequent leaks, rise in the number of inhabitations around the installations and the growing concern over safety of such facilities in densely populated areas like north Chennai are making oil marketing companies look for alternatives. HPCL had moved to Ennore, while BPCL has acquired tankages near the Ennore port besides catering to more markets from Karur.
CPCB sources said the BPCL had been asked to take remedial measures and submit a report.