Diesel production at MRPL down by 50 per cent, petrol 30 per cent

Acute water scarcity owing to dried up Nethravati affects the refinery

May 06, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 06:24 am IST - MANGALURU:

curtailing production:Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. on Thursday began the process of shutting down its Phase III operations.— File Photo: H.S. Manjunath

curtailing production:Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. on Thursday began the process of shutting down its Phase III operations.— File Photo: H.S. Manjunath

With the Nethravati drying up, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) on Thursday began the process of shutting down its Phase III operations, curtailing production of diesel and petrol by about 50 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

If it does not rain in a day or two, the MRPL would have to completely shut down its production, thereby severely affecting supply of diesel and petrol in major parts of Karnataka.

‘Can’t go beyond a week’

“We are trying to postpone the complete shutdown by using all possible means. In the present situation, it (production) cannot go beyond a week,” said M. Venkatesh, director (Refinery), MRPL.

He told The Hindu that shutting down of Phase III had commenced, curtailing diesel production by about 12,000 kilo litres a day and that of petrol by about 1,000 kilo litres a day. As Dakshina Kannada’s lifeline Nethravati has dried up, the district administration had asked the MRPL to lift water from its wire on alternative days in April first week, and on April 26, the administration ordered complete curtailment of water supply to all industries, including the MRPL, and Mangalore Special Economic Zone.

The MRPL has been running with about 3 million gallon per day (MGD) of recycled water that is coming from Kavoor sewage treatment plant and other local sources all these days.

Exploring all options

Mr. Venkatesh said the company was exploring many options to keep the refinery alive for maximum possible period in the given circumstances. Asked whether the MRPL would draw water stored in the crude oil cavern of Indian Strategic Petro Reserves Ltd., near Permude, off Mangaluru, Mr. Venkatesh said this was also being discussed. About 20 million gallons of water, stored for testing purposes, is said to be available in the cavern.

The MRPL is also exploring options such as sourcing partially refined crude from other refineries and producing the final product matching to the local standards here.

In crisis

The refinery caters to about 80 per cent of Karnataka’s fuel requirement

The process of shutting down the refinery’s Phase III unit has started owing to severe water crisis

If it does not rain in a couple of days, the MRPL has to fully shut down operations

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