India builds underground petroleum storage
In an effort to increase strategic reserves of petroleum products in the country, government is building a series of underground storage facilities, besides increasing oil and gas production.
Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour that India has 74 days of strategic reserves while it was building a number of underground rock caverns in Vishakapatanam, Mangalore and Padore to store 5.33 mm ton of oil reserves.
There are plans to build additional caverns to store 12.5 mm ton reserves.
The additional facilities are likely to come up in Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Orissa where sites are being identified and new technologies explored for the purpose.
In reply to a question, Reddy said he endorsed the concern on rising fuel prices but maintained that government had no control on international prices of oil and gas.
"We should take steps to see that our production is enhanced and alternative steps are explored," he said.
He said that under the new exploration licensing policy, 103 discoveries have been made after eight rounds and six of them have gone into production.
Referring to a pending gas pipeline in his state of Tamil Nadu, M Krishnasswamy alleged that Reliance was more interested in Gujarat and not his state. He wondered whether its licence could be cancelled and awarded to GAIL.
Reddy said since it was a commercial contract, the government had no arbitrary powers and it would ask the regulatory authority to look into the issue.