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IOC depot fire delays Cairn's oil pipeline

Press Trust Of India  |  New Delhi 

The devastating fire at Indian Oil Corp’s (IOC) has delayed commissioning of Cairn India’s pipeline for transporting crude from its Rajasthan oil fields.

Cairn had laid a 600-km heated pipeline, from Barmer to Salaya in Gujarat, to transport Rajasthan crude oil to IOC’s refineries but, the fire in October last year delayed its commissioning, sources in the know said.

The pipeline was to carry Rajasthan oil to Gujarat, from where it had to be pumped into IOC’s Mundra-Panipat pipeline for onward transportation to Panipat refinery in Haryana. But the fire destroyed a pumping station of Mundra-Panipat pipeline at Jaipur, reducing the line capacity by one-third.

Sources said as Cairn crude was waxy, it turned solid at room temperature and had to be blended with normal oil in not more than 10 per cent ratio for transportation in non-heated pipelines like Mundra-Panipat.

It was planned that 18,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Rajasthan crude could be transported per day through the Mundra-Panipat pipeline.

But with the fire destroying the Jaipur pump, the pipeline capacity fell to 6.5 million tonnes, which meant that only 13,000 bpd of Rajasthan crude could be transported.

Cairn, however, felt that this quantity was too low for safe operation of its Barmer-Salaya pipeline.

First Published: Tue, February 23 2010. 00:56 IST