At a recent meet of the Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) with Mr. Praful Patel, Member of Parliament & ex-Union Minister, Patel endorsed the view that the refinery should be established in Vidarbha, but since in another few years, fuels for automobiles would no longer be needed, emphasis should be laid on petrochemicals and downstream industries which would remain, so it would be important to invest in these, as we should envisage such a project that would remain useful for the next 40-50 years.
Patel said the whole of central India, within a 500 km radius of Nagpur could easily be serviced by this refinery. However, we have to look at gas also when we talk of petroleum. Piped gas would be useful for the city, and it can be taken even from the main pipe, hence, along with petrochemicals, the setting up of a gas pipeline from the east coast can also be explored. In fact, gas can be got from anywhere to run through a pipeline.
Vinayak Marathe, refinery expert, said MSMEs will set up businesses, and it’ll be a profitable project, generating a lot of dividends. By 2040, the demand for diesel and petrol will grow threefold, and as transport fuel cost is rising, and logistics costs are high, we do need additional refining capacity. Even if the electrical vehicles take over, only 25% of the refineries, globally, would shut down, so it’s never a challenge. The potential would always remain. 10 million gallons of water can be made available in Vidarbha, which Patel said could be taken from the perennial Wainganga river, and also from the recycling of water through which a lot of water is conserved. Rainfall is also adequate in Vidarbha.
Marathe said pollution would be taken care of by the forests, but since the standards of the latest technology would be so modern, the question of pollution would not arise.
Marathe informed that we can take crude from anywhere in the world, which is another advantage. He suggested that in Vidarbha, even agriculture waste could be converted to crude oil, so that technology should be scaled up as this type of crude oil also needs refining. Farmers would be benefitted and can look forward to a good future in this.
The project should be set up in Nagpur since the infrastructure exists there, and water availability is better around Nagpur than elsewhere. When Nagpur develops, development percolates down to the other districts too, opined Patel.
Shivkumar Rao, President, VED, stated that land, power, and the Samrudhhi Mahamarg for a pipeline are all available. He informed Patel about the steps that VED had taken so far for taking the project forward, including insisting on the Govt. of India getting a techno-economic feasibility study conducted. Patel said he would be most happy to write to the Central Govt,, to Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, and to the GoM since Rao informed that recommendations from the GoM also help, as we have to go through the GoM to the Govt of India.
Pradeep Maheswhwari, VED Member and Project Director, who has driven this project for the last several years, informed this is a central location, and the refinery would benefit everyone due to cost-reduction. It would be a huge cost-saving project for logistics. Companies want to come to Nagpur and will do so if the refinery is set up here. Many enquiries have already got generated.
Earlier, at the zoom meeting, Shivkumar Rao, President, VED, thanked Praful Patel for joining the meeting while Varun Vijaywargi, Secretary-General, welcomed him and Mr. Vinayak Marathe, refinery expert. The VED presentation on refinery in Vidarbha was run through. Mr. Patel’s comments were invited.