BUSINESS

Reliance refinery shutdown forces LPG imports

NEW DELHI OCT. 28. India will import five additional cargoes of LPG in November to meet the shortfall in domestic cooking gas created due to the unplanned shutdown of a crucial unit of Reliance Industries's Jamnagar refinery.

State-run Indian Oil Corporation will import 65,000 tonnes of LPG in November to bridge the shortfall arising out of the shutdown of fluidised catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) of the country's largest LPG producer, sources said.

Reliance had on October 20 shut down a FCCU of its 31 million tonne Jamnagar refinery for two weeks following a leak.

"The import of 65,000 tonnes would be over and above the two cargoes a month IOC plans to import during November-January to meet the additional winter season demand," they said adding the company had already tied up the winter season imports with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. "Now, the company is again in market for five additional cargoes," they said.

The Jamnagar refinery accounts for about one-quarter of India's total refining capacity of 117 million tonnes. The company, which does not have a retail network of its own, sells 13.1 million tonnes of petroleum products annually to State-run marketing firms — IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation. Of these, IOC picks about 7.5 million tonnes while the remaining is equally shared between HPCL and BPCL.

Reliance sells about 2.30 lakh tonnes of LPG every month to State-run firms for sale through their network.

An unplanned shutdown at Jamnagar refinery in December last year had forced State-run firms to import 17 cargoes of LPG. Sources said IOC would, this fiscal, pick up 1.36 million tonnes of LPG from the Jamnagar refinery. It had picked up 1.58 million tonnes LPG in 2002-03.

Reliance, which exports about 25 per cent of its output, was expected to resume production in two weeks. "Due to additional imports in November, total LPG imports this fiscal are likely to touch one million tonnes," they added.

PTI

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