India took a step further in building up its strategic petroleum reserves on Wednesday, with crude storage starting in the underground rock cavern of the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) at Karnataka's Mangaluru.
Crude oil shipped from Iran was pumped into the storage cavern near here from the Single Point Mooring Booster Pumping Station of the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) at New Mangalore Port.
It required 40 to 44 hours to pump the 0.26 million tonnes (MT) of crude received completely to the cavern. About 10,000 litres could be pumped per hour, ISPRL Chief Executive Officer Rajan K. Pillai told reporters here.
'These strategic storages will be in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and would serve as a cushion during any external supply disruptions,' he said.
The cavern with two chambers has the capacity to store a total 1.5 MT of crude.
To fill this storage, a second parcel of crude would arrive at the port on October 24 and the third one in the third week of November, Pillai added.
He also said that another underground rock cavern being constructed at Padur, also in Karnataka, would be completed by this year end. It has a storage capacity of 2.5 MT.
Another underground rock cavern at Visakhapatnam having a capacity to store 1.33 MT of crude has already been commissioned.
The first phase of implementing India's strategic oil reserves would be completed by end of this fiscal with over 5 MT of crude reserves in place in these three storage facilities.
'Under Phase I storage program, three facilities have been created at Vishakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur, with a total storage capacity of 5.33 MT,' a petroleum ministry statement said.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had told reporters earlier this year that preparations had started for the second phase of construction where it is planned to build reserves of 12.5 MT, so that by the end of the second phase, India has strategic reserves of around 17.8 MT.
The ministry said that the Phase II storage programme plans a total storage capacity of 10.0 MT, which includes 4.4 MT storage capacity at Chandikhol and 5.6 MT storage capacity at Rajasthan's Bikaner.
India imports nearly 80 percent of its oil requirements, and the government had decided to set up strategic crude oil storages as a cushion against external supply disruptions. These storages would be in addition to the existing ones of the oil companies.
The construction of the storage caverns is being managed by ISPRL, which is a special purpose vehicle created by the Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB).
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