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Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said the government is planning to curb the imports of petroleum coke, also known as 'pet coke', which is believed to be a major polluter. The statement follows reports that US-based oil refineries are exporting pet coke -- a carbon-rich solid material derived from oil refining -- to India as there aren't many takers for it in their country. "Recently the Supreme Court banned the use of pet coke in three states surrounding the Delhi-NCR. Consumption of pet coke is around 25 million tonnes in our country. Of this, around 13 million tonnes is produced by Indian refineries (rest is imported)," said Pradhan at a press conference in Ahmedabad. Asked about his plans for reducing the imports as well as the use of pet coke, Pradhan said a policy is being framed by various stakeholder ministries to put curbs on its imports. Pet coke does not cause pollution if it is used as fuel in certain industries such as cement production, the minister said. "At present, the ministry of petroleum along with ministries of environment, commerce and some other ministries are framing a policy to increase restrictions on imports of pet coke. We are planning to implement a system to stop imports and use home-produced pet coke for non-polluting sectors, such as cement production," he said. Giving details of ongoing work by ONGC in Kutch Offshore Basin, Pradhan said the basin, near the Gujarat coast, would produce nearly three million metric standard cubic meter per day of gas for the next 15 years. "It is a significant discovery.
ONGC is carrying out exploratory work in the basin for the last one year. This is a Rs 2,500 crore project, which would produce 3 MMCM per day for the next 15 years," he said.