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3 industrial projects launched

3 July 2008
Special Correspondent
The Hindu

A petroleum refinery plant, a port, a ship building yard coming up near Cuddalore

CHENNAI: Work on three industrial projects costing Rs. 7,290 crore got under way on Wednesday with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi laying the foundation stone for the projects at the Secretariat.

A petroleum refinery plant, a port at Thiruchopuram and a ship building yard at Silambimangalam, all near Cuddalore, are the projects to be taken up.

While the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) will implement the refinery project in association with the Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited and a host of companies, the Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Limited (NOCL) will develop the Thiruchopuram port project and the Goodearth Maritime Limited will establish the ship building yard.

Estimated to cost Rs. 4,790 crore, the refinery project, having a capacity of 60 lakh tonnes a year, will be completed in 33 months. It will be commissioned by 2011, according to an official release. The will handle 250 lakh tonnes of cargo annually. Though it will cater to the requirements of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and other utilities for import of coal for power generation projects, it will be a multi-user port. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 1,500 crore.

The Silambimangalam ship building yard would have the capacity of 75,000 tonnes. Being built at an investment of Rs. 1,000 crore, the yard will roll out its first ship by late 2010 or early 2011, according to C. Muthukumaraswamy, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tamil Nadu Maritime Board. All the projects will generate direct employment opportunities for 5,700 persons and indirect employment for 11,300 persons.

Among those present were Arcot N. Veeraswami, Electricity Minister; M.R. K. Paneerselvam, Health Minister; Vellakoil M.P. Saminathan, Highways and Minor Port Minister; K. Venkatapathy, Union Minister of State for Law; L.K. Tripathy, Chief Secretary and M.F. Farooqui, Industries Secretary.

Financial closure
Later, the NOCL Managing Director S. Rammohan told journalists that his company had achieved financial closure for the petroleum refinery project at Cuddalore. The Nagarjuna group had already invested more than Rs 700 crore. The project was being financed partly through debt and equity in the ratio of 2:1. As many as 16 banks led by the Industrial Development Bank of India were financing the debt portion of Rs 3,200 crore. According to Mr. Rammohan, the Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited had 51 per cent stake in the new venture, followed by the TIDCO - five per cent; Tata Petrodyne - 30 per cent, Cuddalore Port Company - 10 per cent and Uhde, Germany - 4 per cent.

"This project is located on the coast and can import crude oil and export products with ease. Further, the refinery is close to the fast growing markets of south and central Tamil Nadu. The refinery will be in a position to supply products to these markets at most competitive price. The refinery can process cheaper heavy sour crude oil and capitalise on the differential oil prices. The refinery has the ability to produce Euro IV compliant auto fuels," R. Sankaran, NOCL president (projects), said.The NOCL had plans to expand the refining capacity to 15 million tonnes per annum with a petrochemical complex, a petrochemical Special Economic Zone and develop various businesses such as petro retail, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) import and storage, LPG bottling and auto LPG retailing, Mr. Sankaran said.

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