Puri hopeful of reviving West Coast Refinery project
Mumbai: With BJP in power in Maharashtra, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday expressed hope of reviving the stalled West Coast Refinery project, which if implemented, will be the largest in the world.
The over Rs 3 lakh crore-project, also known as the West Coast Refinery project, was approved when the BJP-Shiv Sena government headed by Devendra Fadnavis was in power in the state. At that time, the government had also acquired some portion of the 15,000 acres of land needed for the 60-million-tonne per annum project.
However, with the change of guard in the state after the 2019 polls and an alliance of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress coming to power under Uddhav Thackeray, the project was shelved.
Addressing an industry event on the energy technologies here, the minister said that though no concrete proposal has come to him yet from the state or from investors, he expects the project to get revived with the new political climate in the state.
“I am pained by some political reasons. We have become counter-productive while pursuing our political objectives. In one part of a country, there was a talk of a very major refinery being set up on the West Coast. Investors were also ready but the earlier state government was busy in its own things.
“That government first said it will not let the refinery come in one place, then it said it won’t let it come in another place. Foreign investors were willing… but now the situation has changed and we are trying to again revive. Overall, the picture is looking very positive now,” Puri told reporters.
Stressing that he is not saying the project should come up at the earlier identified place — Nanar in the coastal Ratnagiri district –, Puri said, the project can come up in one or two locations if Maharashtra is willing and committed to the project.
“Even I am ready to look at other West Coast states if they are committed or even from the Southern states. But what we need is firm commitments and not just a statement of intent, which was what happened earlier with the project,” the minister said.
When asked whether he has got back to foreign investors, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and UAE’s Adnoc that had earlier agreed to pick up significant minority stakes in the project, Puri replied in the negative.
The minister said that he has only sent feelers far and the first response has been positive so far.
Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum are the promoters of the mega project.