The ethnic clashes in Assam, which have left at least 45 people dead so far, have affected supplies from IndianOil Corp Ltd’s (IOC) Bongaigaon refinery, as transporting products across the crisis-hit areas in lower Assam was a challenge, oil industry officials say.
The refinery, which gets crude from the wells owned by Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) in Assam, supplies products to the north-eastern state via road, rail and piplines.
ONGC has operations in Silchar, Jorhat and Sibsagar and supplies to the Bongaigaon refinery. ONGC supplies around 1.2 million tonnes to Bongaigon refinery.
The violence between members of the ethnic Bodo community and Muslim settlers broke out in Kokrajhar, a lower Assam district. Bongaigaon is also in the lower Assam area.
Officials from the ministry said transportation of oil products via road and rail was hit by the violence. The Guwahati-siliguri product pipeline, however, was functional.
“As such, the refinery operations have not been impacted. Though crude supply has not been impacted as the violence was restricted to lower Assam, product loading in tankers was disrupted to retail outlets because of fear psychosis,” said A Saran, executive director at the Bongaigaon refinery.
He added that supplies via road were back to normal now.
The Bongaigaon refinery is the eighth largest refinery of IOC, formed after the amalgamation of Bongaigaon Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd with IOC in 2009.
The Bongaigon refinery supplies products by roads to to 13 districts covering Assam and Meghalaya, services to which were disrupted. Officials of the the refinery, which has a capacity of processing 7,500 tonnes of crude per day, said due to the violence, product supply via road was disrupted to the tune of 1,200 kilo litre.
The refinery also has a liquefied petroleum gas bottling plant with a capacity of 44,000 million tonnes per annum.
IOC said it had taken adequate precautions in beefing up security at the refinery and asked its employees not to come by their personal vehicles. It is providing bus service to the employees with a security cover from the Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF).
ONGC officials said their operations were not affected at all. “We have enough inventory of chemical and spareparts. We have our own security, Assam police and the CISF. In the past there have been issues but we have been able to handle it,” said an ONGC official.