BPCL halts Kochi polyol plant ops

BPCL halts Kochi polyol plant ops

Indian public sector oil and gas company Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) has halted a planned speciality petrochemicals plant for producing polyols at its Kochi refinery as the state-run firm prefers to wait for the outcome of the privatisation bid currently underway before proceeding on the Rs 11,130 crore project.

The project is to be built on 170 acres of land adjoining the refinery that was acquired by BPCL from Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT), also a central PSU. It was put in motion in January 2019.

After completing land levelling work for erecting the plant, BPCL halted the construction of a road underpass to link the project site with the refinery, sources in the Kochi refinery said.

The licensor selection process for sourcing technology for the polyol plant has also been frozen.

Sources said all project-related activities have been halted. The BPCL management feels that given the huge investment involved, it would be appropriate to move ahead with the project only with the consent of the company's private owner following strategic disinvestment, said sources.

The polyol plant's uncertainty has cast a shadow over the petrochemical park planned by the Kerala government where small industries will manufacture products utilising niche/speciality petrochemicals sourced from the polyol plant and the Propylene Derivatives Petrochemical Project (PDPP).

The BPCL-built PDPP with an investment of Rs 75,246 crore, is expected to be commissioned by February end.

Other projects

The centre's decision to transfer 170 acres of land belonging to FACT to BPCL with Kerala government's approval for building the polyol plant, has also come under criticism as the land will pass on to private hands following disinvestment.

BPCL has also halted work on a skill development centre for training students passing out of the ITI at Ettumanoor near Kochi. The state had offered eight acres of land at ITI for a centre that planned to train 1,500 students a year.

Kerala government officials took an anti-privatisation stance and said that BPCL should not be privatised, in the interests of the state's development.

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