Business Bureau :
Highlighting the benefits of establishing a petrochemical complex and refinery in Vidarbha, the Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) recently conducted a virtual meeting with Praful Patel, Member of Parliament and former Union Minister and Vinayak Marathe, refinery expert. In the meeting, Patel endorsed the view that the refinery should be established in Vidarbha. Patel further said, “In another few years, fuels for automobiles would no longer be needed, emphasis should be laid on petrochemicals and downstream industries which would remain. It would be important to invest in these, as we should envisage such a project that would remain useful for the next 40-50 years.” Patel said the whole of Central India, within a 500 km radius of Nagpur could easily be serviced by this refinery. “However, we have to look at gas also when we talk of petroleum. Piped gas would be useful for the city, and it can be taken even from the main pipe, along with petrochemicals.
The setting up of a gas pipeline from the east coast can also be explored. In fact, gas can be got from anywhere to run through a pipeline,” he said. Vinayak Marathe, a refinery expert said, “MSMEs will set up businesses, and it’ll be a profitable project, generating lot of dividends. By 2040, the demand for diesel and petrol will grow threefold. As transport fuel cost is rising and logistics costs are high, we do need additional refining capacity. Even if the electrical vehicles take over, only 25 per cent of the refineries globally would shut down.” About 10 million gallons of water can be made available in Vidarbha, which Patel said could be taken from the perennial Wainganga river. Marathe suggested that in Vidarbha, agriculture waste could be converted to crude oil.
Technology should be scaled up as this type of crude oil also needs refining. Farmers would be benefited and can look forward to a good future in this. “The project should be set up in Nagpur as the infrastructure exists and water availability is better around Nagpur than elsewhere. When Nagpur develops, development percolates down to the other districts too,” Patel said. Shivkumar Rao, President, VED, stated that land, power and Samrudhhi Mahamarg for a pipeline are all available.
He informed Patel about the steps that VED had taken so far for taking the project forward, including insisting on the Government of India getting a techno-economic feasibility study conducted. In this regard, Patel said he would to write to Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Government of Maharashtra. Pradeep Maheswhwari, VED member and Project Director said, “Companies want to come to Nagpur and will do so if the refinery is set up here. Many enquiries have been generated.” Varun Vijaywargi, Secretary General, VED was also present in the virtual meet.