Wednesday, August 10, 2022

COVID-19: IOC, BPCL refineries divert oxygen, gear up to ramp up supplies to hospitals

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  • Indian Oil has been supplying an average of 27 MT of liquid medical oxygen per day; Panipat Refinery has alone supplied 235 MT per day

  • In addition to supplying Oxygen from Kochi Refinery, BPCL is also gearing up to supply at least 10 tonnes of Oxygen from its Mumbai and Bina Refineries

New Delhi: State-run fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) — have maximised the production of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) by reducing their own demand for industrial use and are planning to ramp up supplies further, along with setting up more oxygen generation plants, in order to meet the rapid rise in demand for oxygen for COVID-19 patients. The decision to augment supplies comes in the backdrop of a steep rise in COVID-19 infections and a severe shortage of medical oxygen for patients whose oxygen levels have dropped to a critical state.

IOC supplying 27 MT Oxygen daily, Panipat Refinery supplied 4545 MT so far

According to sources, Indian Oil has been supplying an average of 27 MT of liquid medical oxygen per day. “Indian Oil has supplied about 112.8 MT of Oxygen till date under CSR. In addition, Panipat Refinery is supplying about 235 MT per day and has supplied 4,545 MT until April 25,” said the source.

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On April 19, Indian Oil had begun the supply of 150 MT of Oxygen at no cost to various hospitals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

BPCL gearing up to supply Oxygen from Mumbai, Bina Refinery

BPCL had started the supply of 100 MT of medical grade Oxygen on April 19 at no cost, to various hospitals in view of the shortage of the same for critical patients of COVID-19. The quantity is to be supplied over a period of a month. According to an official spokesperson for BPCL, the company is also gearing up to supply at least 10 tonnes of Oxygen from its Mumbai and Bina Refineries in order to address the shortage in the country.

Oil PSUs setting up oxygen generation plants

The government has summoned its oil PSUs into service and has asked them to set up medical oxygen plants in hospitals across 93 locations in India. The largest number of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants are coming up in Karnataka — 28 — followed by Uttar Pradesh (UP) at 12. Oil PSUs are setting up 11 plants in Madhya Pradesh (MP), nine in Bihar, eight in Gujarat, seven in Kerala, Rajasthan and Odisha each, and four in Maharashtra. 

The backdrop

The news comes as the country faces a severe crisis in the availability of Oxygen for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Over the past few days, several patients in Maharashtra and Delhi have died due to a shortage of oxygen. In order to address the crisis, the government has waived off customs duty on import of Oxygen and Oxygen equipment for three months. It has also directed all ports to waive off charges on cargo carrying oxygen for a period of three months. 

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