Jewel of the Desert: Barmer refinery to be commissioned by March 2024, says Union Minister Hardeep Puri

Jewel of the Desert: Barmer refinery to be commissioned by March 2024, says Union Minister Hardeep Puri

The much-awaited Barmer refinery project is scheduled to be commissioned by March 2024.

Manish GodhaUpdated: Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 10:30 PM IST
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Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at the site of Barmer refinery project in Barmer, Rajasthan. |

Jaipur: Terming the much-awaited Barmer refinery project as “Jewel of the Desert”, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep S. Puri on Tuesday said, “More than 60% of the project has been completed despite the severe setback faced during 2 years of COVID 19 pandemic but we are determined to complete this project under the deadline.”

The much-awaited Barmer refinery project is scheduled to be commissioned by March 2024.

Addressing the press at HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Limited (HRRL) complex in Barmer Puri further said, “This project will act as an anchor industry for industrial hub not only for the western Rajasthan but also will steer India to its vision of achieving 450 MMTPA refining capacity by 2030.”

He also posted a video of the on-going project on Twitter.

Delay due to Covid

He informed that the deadline for the project was December 2022 but due to Covid 19, not only did the project get delayed but the cost has also increased by around ₹30000 crores. “The cost of the refinery cum petrochemical complex has increased from ₹42000 crore to ₹72000 crore due to delay and price rise of steel and some other reasons,” said Puri.

This Greenfield Refinery cum Petrochemical Complex HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Limited (HRRL) is a Joint Venture company of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and the Rajasthan Government) having a stake of 74% and 26% respectively.

The HRRL refinery complex will process 9 MMTPA of crude and produce more than 2.4 million tons of petrochemicals which will reduce import bills on account of petrochemicals. Puri said, “Current imports are to a tune of ₹95000 crores, the complex post-commission shall reduce the import bill by ₹26000 crores.”

Socio-economic benefits

Underlining the socio-economic benefits of the project in terms of employment generation and infrastructure development, the Minister said that the project has engaged about 35,000 workers in and around the complex and about One Lakh workers are engaged indirectly.

Besides this, a Co-ed School till class 12th catering to about 600 students and a 50-bed hospital are also being developed.

The Minister also mentioned the environmental initiatives taken at the project site and said that a wetland habitat for migratory birds like the Demoiselle crane is being developed in the refinery complex.

Cost escalation likely to trigger confrontation

The cost escalation is likely to open a new front of the confrontation between the central and the state government as the share of the state government in this cost escalation is around ₹2500 crore and Puri said that if the share of cost escalation is not borne by the state government, then its share may be reduced to 16 per cent from 26 per cent.

He said that the state government was apprised of the cost escalation in August 2021 but the state government has not made its stand clear yet. “We are waiting for a reply from the state government. We are ready to bear this but in that condition, the state government share may go down from 26 to 16 per cent,” said the minister.

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