Business Bureau ;
Highlighting the importance of setting up a petrochemical complex and oil refinery for overall growth of Vidarbha, Vinayak Marathe, former-Senior Vice-President of Reliance Industries Limited, while speaking to The Hitavada said, “the mega facility can change the face of the region and also trigger massive growth and employment opportunities on sustainable basis in Vidarbha. He further said that to realise a massive project with an estimated investment of Rs 2 lakh crore for a 30 million tonne per annum (MTPA) refinery requires support from the Government. If the project is announced, the State Government will have to facilitate skill development in ITIs, develop infrastructure in MIDC areas and provide incentives to set up industries in the initial years.
Once the plant becomes operational, industries and investment will automatically come. The region would flourish with immense opportunities to be tapped. The project will directly employ a minimum 10,000 to people which would indirectly give employment to 5 lakh people, Marathe said. Marathe said that a petrochemical complex and refinery in Vidarbha is feasible and viable proposition as there is ample water, land, electricity and ready consumer base. India imports 80% of its crude oil requirement, cost of logistics for moving the crude is lower for the refineries located near the port. But in a large country like India, the cost of transporting the product should also be taken into consideration. Reduced cost of products movement to Central India will pay back for the crude pipeline capex and operating cost. There is no refinery in 400 KMs vicinity of Nagpur. “If a refinery can be set up in Rajasthan by bringing crude oil through a 500 km long pipeline, if a Panipat refinery can run profitably year after year by bringing crude oil through a 1,100 km pipeline. If Barauni, Mathura, Bhatinda, Bina and many other oil refineries that are far from the coast can continue to operate profitability then why not to have a refinery in Vidarbha,” he said.
“It is a common misconception that a crude oil refining project pollutes the environment. However, with the latest technologies refineries and petrochemical plants are built with ‘zero discharge’. The world’s largest refinery is operating in Jamnagar, Gujarat has demonstrated how stringent pollution control norms for gaseous, liquid, and solid waste are achieved,” he added. India’s crude refining capacity is expected to increase from the current 5 million barrels per day to 6.4 million barrels per day by 2030. India’s plastic consumption is 1/3 of the global average, with rising standard of living and growth in infrastructure, there is enormous growth potential in this sector. India currently imports 40% of its overall chemicals demand.
Over the next 10 years, India aims to invest 87 billion dollars in petrochemical plants. Most of the raw materials required for these chemicals will come from the refinery itself, Marathe added. During the interview, Shivkumar Rao, President VED Council was also present who said that VED is hopeful about getting Government permission for conducting the techno-economic feasibility study very soon. “We are going to meet Dharmendra Pradhan Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel within next 8 to 10 days,” Rao said.