Cals Refineries to invest Rs20,000-crore at Nayachar petrochemicals hub

Mumbai: Even as the centre's approval for a petrochemical hub at Nayachar stays pending, investments to the hub have started to flow.

Private sector refiner, Delhi-based Cals Refineryies has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the West Bengal government to invest in Rs 4,000-crore in a  5-million tonne oil refinery , in the first of three phases. The MoU was also signed with the Haldia Development Authority (HDA), and the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).

According to West Bengal chief minister Buddadeb Bhattacharjee, ''The first two will be at Haldia and the third at Nayachar.'' This is the first venture in the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) project.

The project is scheduled to be commissioned by 2010, and is expected to create around 1,500 jobs. According to HDA chairman Lakshman Seth, land for the project will not be an issue as 400 acres needed for the first phase is already with HDA, and an additional 400 acres scheduled to be acquired for the second phase. Land at Nayachar would be needed for the third phase, and is subject to central government approvals for the PCPIR, which is currently still pending.

A 15-million-tonne capacity oil refinery is needed to get PCPIR status. Indian Oil's refinery at Haldia is 7.5 million tonnes, and the Cals Refineries plans to increase its capacity by 10 million tonne by 2010, and another 20 million tonnes by 2013. BSE listed Cals Refineries has proposed an investment of Rs20,000 crore over three phases to set up projects at Haldia and at proposed PCPIR at Nayachar. The first two phases involve an investment of Rs4,000 crore each, with a capacity of five million tonnes per annum, individually.

Cals Refinery CEO Manabendra Guha Roy said work for the first phase would be initiated in April, with equipment shipments from Germany arriving at Haldia by July. The shipments will comprise equipment for the main process units being transplanted from Bayeroil Refinery in Germany. The refinery would have a strategic alliance with British Petroleum. The product profile includes naphtha, which would be bought by Haldia Petrochemicals, besides various grades of petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said this project was significant for the State as around 8,000 people would get direct employment once all the three phases got operational.  Former Indian Oil chairman M S Ramachandran is chairman of Cals Refineries.