Vishakhapatnam strategic crude storage project which was scheduled to be commissioned in January, 2014 has missed the deadline again. Now, the new deadline is April 2014 and skeptics say even that may have to be extended further. It should be noted that as per original schedule crude storage cavern should have been completed by October 2011. However after many slip-ups, January 2014 was decided as the final deadline for the project.

Vishakhapatnam strategic crude storage project is being built by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) and will have capacity to store 1.33 MMT crude oil. ISPRL is a special purpose vehicle set up by Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB). The project forms the part of the government’s plans of setting up three strategic crude oil storage facilities with a total capacity of 5 MMT at various locations. Estimated cost of Vishakhapatnam project is Rs. 1,038 crore.

ISPRL is not coming out with any reasons for this inordinate delay in completing the project. Earlier it was claimed that due to poor geological conditions work progress was slow. Last year work held up due to water inundation and dewatering exercise is still on. Above ground works have also been affected as they are dependent on the underground contractor to handover. While underground contract is bagged by Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), Indian Oil Tanking Infrastructure & Energy Services Ltd (IOTIESL) is the above ground contractor for laying of hot oil circulation piping.

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