The fate of the proposed $70 billion refinery and petrochemicals project in Maharashtra hangs in the balance with the Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) front hinting that it is likely to scrap the proposed project.
The project, named Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPCL), which was announced in December 2015, was to be commissioned by2022, but delays in the land acquisition had pushed the deadline to 2025.
With a 60 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity, RRPCL is a joint venture comprising Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), and three state-owned oil marketing companies, Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL). Saudi Aramco and Adnoc will jointly own 50% of the refinery, with the remaining 50% being owned by the Indian oil companies.
"We have not heard anything from the central or state government on this project. We hope the project receives relevant clearances and is fast-tracked given it has already seen delays," said a senior official from an oil marketing company on the condition of anonymity.
A pre-feasibility study of the refinery was completed this January. The refinery will be capable of processing 1.2 million barrels of crude oil and produce 18 million tons per annum of petrochemicals, along with providing direct and indirect employment to up to 150,000 people.
This February, Mint reported that the refinery and petrochemicals project may be shifted to Roha in the neighbouring Raigad district of the state. Raigad is located in the Konkan region and Roha has a big industrial set up with the majority of the industrial units being chemical processing industries.
The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation had secured a land bank of 10,000 acres for the project. The previous government had decided to relocate the project following protests by farmers and local landowners, who feared the project may damage the region’s flora and fauna, and affect the famous Alphonso mango and cashew plantations.
Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally in the previous government, had also backed the people opposing the refinery in Ratnagiri district. Moving the project out of Ratnagiri was one of the conditions on which the Shiv Sena renewed its alliance with the BJP for the Assembly polls in Maharashtra held this October.