MRPL receives first batch of Cairn's Rajasthan crude

The first parcel of Indian crude from Cairn's Mangala block in the Barmer oil fields in Rajasthan reached the city on Friday. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned behemoth Oil and Natural Gas Commission, received the 29,000-tonne parcel of Mangala crude at New Mangalore Port.

The parcel (2.08 lakh barrels) was transported by road to Kandla port at Gujarat and brought here on oil tanker Cougar. In a ceremony, a crystal bottle of the crude was symbolically handed over by Sushil Kumar Pillay, deputy general manager (marine operations) and regional manager, Cairn Energy India Ltd, to U K Basu, managing director.

According to separate but identical statements from Cairn and MRPL, the occasion was historic to the extent that this is the first batch of crude to be produced under the new National Exploration Licensing Policy of the union government. The processing of this heavy crude commenced in the phase I of the refinery on the same day.

MRPL will receive about 0.2 million metric tonnes of Mangala crude in 2009-10, and 0.4 mmt in 2010-11. With the fast progressing phase III projects including the delayed coker unit (DCU) kicking in, MRPL will be able to process more crude from October 2011.

''Because of its nature, Mangala crude cannot be processed by itself, and will be mixed with Bombay High Crude in a ratio of 1:4," Basu said.
Boasting more history, Basu said MRPL was the first to receive Nile crude in 2003 from Sudan, the first to receive Sakalin crude from Russia in 2006, and now Mangala from Rajasthan in 2009.

MRPL initially hopes to get 22 per cent distillates in the form of diesel, kerosene and naptha from Mangala crude, and this is expected to go up once the DCU is functional and the refinery is able to crack more 'bottoms' (crude) in to distillates.