The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh dedicated Guru Govind Singh Refinery at Bhatinda to the Nation today. Present on the occasion were the Governor of Punjab Shri Shivraj Patil, Chief Minister of Punjab Shri Parkash Singh Badal, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri S Jaipal Reddy, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri RPN Singh, Union Minister of State (Planning, Science &Technology and Earth Sciences) Shri Ashwini Kumar ji, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Shri Sukhbir Singh Badalji, Shri Chuni Lal Bhagatji, Local Bodies & Medical Education Minister, Government of Punjab, Shri G.C. Chaturvedi, Secretary Petroleum & Natural Gas, Shri L.N. Mittal, Chairman Arcelor Mittal, Shri S. Roy Choudhury, C&MD HPCL among other dignatories.
Speaking on the occasion the Prime Minister congratulated the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, HPCL, Shri Lakshmi Mittal and his company, HMEL and State Govt on the successful completion of this project. He said, “This refinery will fulfill a long cherished dream of the people of Punjab and will make a big contribution towards economic development of the State.”
Underling the significance of the 9 Million tonne(MMT)refinery project, the the Prime Minister added that the refinery sector in the country has shown phenomenal growth and India has emerged as a refining hub. From 62 million metric tonnes per annum in 1998, the country’s refining capacity has grown about three and a half times to 213 MMTPA today. “ We have sufficient refining capacity to enable us to export petroleum products,” he stressed.
He also stated that the challenges we face on the energy front are formidable and underlined the need for adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices. Pointing out that domestic sources of crude oil and gas are inadequate to meet the growing demands, and the imports accounting for about 80% of our crude supplies, the spiraling prices of crude in the international market have put a severe strain on our import bill. He emphasized that that in order to insulate the common man from the impact of rising oil prices, the Government shoulders a sizeable portion of the burden by pricing diesel, Kerosene and domestic LPG below their market prices.
Calling for steps to conserve our scarce energy resources, Prime Minister cautioned that there is no room for inefficient and wasteful usage of fuel, be it petrol, diesel, kerosene or gas. “We also need to rationalize prices and at the same time ensure that the poor and needy are shielded from the effects of such a rationalization,” he said.
Union Petroleum Minister Shri S Jaipal Reddy said that a healthy oil and gas sector fuels the economy of a nation. He expressed happiness on India’s emergence as a refining hub with our refining capacity having grown from a meager 0.25 MMTPA at the time of independence to 213 MMTPA today. The Minister described Guru Gobind Singh Refinery as the latest feather in the cap with the commissioning of this state of the art 9 MMTPA refinery of HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd (HMEL) a joint venture of HPCL and Mittal Energy Investments Pte Ltd.
He said that the refinery is designed to deliver high grade, environment-friendly petroleum products that would bridge the present gap between supply and demand in the Northern region of India. It is a complex refinery with high Nelson complexity index enabling extraction of highest value from relatively high sulphur, low quality and low priced crudes.
The Minister further said that with economy growing at about 8% on average, India’s energy needs are increasing at a rapid rate. The challenge is more pronounced since we are highly dependent on imported oil, which accounts for 75% of our total requirement. The country’s oil import bill has already breached the $ 100 billion mark in 2010-11. Meeting the requirements of India`s rapidly expanding economy is creating a tremendous surge in the demand for Hydrocarbons. The demand for POL products in India has increased from 129 MMT in 2007-08 to 147 MMT in 2011-12 at an annual growth rate of 4.2 %.
Being aware of the criticality of this sector, he reiterated that his Ministry is fully committed to ensure that the growing demand of the energy sector is fully met. The Minister also said that we have endeavored to come up with policies that provide a stimulus for development of this vital sector. “The two successful Joint Venture refineries commissioned at Bina and now at Bhatinda bear testimony to the rising interest shown in the refining sector of this country,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion MOS(PNG) Shri R P N Singh lauded the successful completion of the world class refinery within time. He complemented HPCL and their partners along with Govt of Punjab on this historic achievement. The Minister also said that his government has initiated measures to insulate needy from rising global oil prices. Giving out details, he said PSU Oil Marketing Companies has been bearing heavy under-recoveries on sale of sensitive petroleum products o keep prices at affordable levels.
Punjab CM also spoke on the occasion and complemented Union Government for its support to the project. He praised the promoters HMEL for setting up the world class refinery in the State.