Wednesday, August 10, 2022

COVID: IOC to convert 29 of its LNG tankers into Oxygen carriers within a week

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  • IOC’s LNG tankers converted into Oxygen carriers have been named ‘Sanjeevani Express’

  • The first such oxygen carrier was flagged off from Bokaro in Jharkhand for Patna on Tuesday

New Delhi: State-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is converting 29 LNG tankers in its fleet into medical-grade Oxygen carriers in order to address the issue of last-mile delivery of Oxygen and ensure reliable transportation for COVID-19 patients in India. These Oxygen carriers have been named ‘Sanjeevani Express.’ In a tweet, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said on Tuesday, “@IndianOilcl is in the process of converting 29 such #LNGTankers from its fleet into medical-grade oxygen carriers within the next week to address gaps between production and distribution of oxygen and also ensure smooth supplies.”

The news comes in the backdrop of an acute shortage of Oxygen in the country for treatment of COVID-19 patients. The government has urged PSUs in the oil and gas and steel sector to augment Oxygen supplies as the nation battles the second wave of COVID-19 infections.

IOC’s first Sanjeevani Express Oxygen carrier leaves for Patna

On Tuesday, the first such LNG tanker owned by IOC, which was converted into an Oxygen carrier, was flagged off from Bokaro in Jharkhand for Patna. Sharing the news on Twitter, the Petroleum Ministry said, “To address the issues related to last mile deliveries of medical oxygen, @IndianOilcl is diverting brand new #LNGTankers for faster and reliable transportation of LMO to states. The 1st such #LNGTanker is loaded with LMO supply for Patna, Bihar.”

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Indian Oil has been supplying an average of 27 MT of liquid medical oxygen per day. In addition, Panipat Refinery is supplying about 235 MT per day and has supplied 4,545 MT until April 25, sources told PSU Watch. 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.

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.

(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Telegram & Twitter as well. Join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram and follow us on Twitter to stay updated)

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