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Oil strike halts natural gas supply to industries

January 07, 2009 11:23 IST

Defying high court orders, oil PSU executives on Wednesday stopped work forcing stoppage of natural gas supplies to industries on the nation's main trunk pipeline but aviation services and fuel supplies continued to be normal.

"The strike is total in all oil PSUs except Hindustan Petroleum. The strike began at 0600 hrs," Oil sector officers association president Amit Kumar said in New Delhi.

Officers of Oil and Natural Gas Corp stopped natural gas supplies from the country's largest field in Mumbai offshore, forcing a shutdown of the Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline.

"Gas supply pressure from ONGC [Get Quote] fields started reducing from 0230 hrs and came to a grinding halt at 0600 hrs, forcing us to cut supplies on HVJ," GAIL chairman U D Choubey said.

"GAIL is maintaining supplies to priority sector from the volumes already available in the pipeline."

ONGC also stopped most of the gas supplies from privately operated Panna/Mukta and Tapti fields as the fuel from these passes through its processing units and pipelines. Only 1.5 million standard cubic meters per day out of 18 mmscmd was being supplied.

The strike was most visible in ONGC, Amit Kumar's parent firm, while it has no impact in HPCL [Get Quote]. Indian Oil [Get Quote] Corp, the nation's largest refiner, was maintaining aviation services but operations at four of its refineries were impacted.

"Aviation services are working normally. Our petrol pumps are also operating normally," IOC chairman Sarthak Behuria said.

But Haldia refinery has taken a complete shutdown while its Panipat, Mathura and Koyali refineries was under 'cooling down' -- a process before the units are completely shutdown.

"In Haldia, all units are being shutdown but at the other three refineries some units will continue to operate," a company official said.

The shutting down of IOC refineries may be bad news for fuel supplies.

"The petrol pumps and depots have stocks for 2-3 days. We have to see if loading and dispatching is impacted," Behuria said.

High courts of Delhi and Guwahati had restrained the executives from going on strike but OSOA remained undeterred by the court orders.

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