It`s not just the oil marketing companies that are plagued by the mafia. The upstream companies are being hit too.
Cairn India, the second-largest private sector oil producer, has stopped production at its Guda and Kaameshwari-W fields in Rajasthan due to shortage of tankers since July 2017, according to a report by Union petroleum and gas ministry late last month.
The shortage was caused after the company terminated the services of its tanker operators which it found involved in an inter-state oil theft, according to company sources.
The lid was blown off the racket following a complaint lodged by Cairn India`s legal officer with the local police, which in July arrested at least 36 persons, including 10 associated with the company.
The racket was reportedly going on for six years and resulted in around Rs 49 crore loss to the company.
Sources in Cairn India said that following the investigation the services of the tanker operators was terminated and new arrangements were made, which is likely to bring normalcy in the production from these fields soon.
Asked about the loss of production due to the shutdown of the fields, a senior company official said, "The trucking operations in total contribute a miniscule percentage of Rajasthan production. The variation in volume is in line with expectations and other operational factors."
As per the reports there are two types of oil wells in Barmer. The first set of 200 oil wells are sealed and crude oil is transported to the refinery in Gujarat through pipelines, contributing about 98% to the total production. However, the second set of around 20 oil wells are not sealed and oil is extracted manually and transported to Mangla Processing Terminal (MPT) located on Barmer-Jodhpur National Highway mainly through tanker trucks. These 20 oil wells contribute 2% of the total production.
The investigators found that the gang indulged in theft of 15,00020,000 litre of crude oil worth Rs 3 lakh daily to the company over past 5-6 years. Superitendent of police (Barmer) Gagandeep Singla, said, "The accused while releasing the oil from tanker would switch off the vehicle`s GPS and install it another vehicle which would keep moving in order to mislead." The case is now further being investigated by Special Operation Group of Rajasthan police.
The data available with the oil ministry said that the crude oil production by private/joint ventures during October 2017 was 861.68 thousand metric tonne (TMT), which is 4.58% lower than the monthly target and 4.57% lower than October, 2016. Further, the cumulative crude oil production by private /joint ventures during the period April-October was 5890.83 TMT, which is 5.48% lower than target for the period and 6.98% lower than the production during the corresponding period of last year.
Cumulatively, the crude oil production during October 2017 was 3038.25 TMT, which is 4.63% lower than target and 0.41% lower when compared with October 2016. Cumulative crude oil production during April-October 2017 was 21062.99 TMT, which is 3.62% lower than target for the period and 0.24% lower than production during the corresponding period of last year.
Following further investigation by the police, Cairn India has reportedly removed over 10 officials for their alleged links with the scam.
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