MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL), the government-owned company mandated to store crude oil for emergency needs, has invited initial bids to fill its storage facility in the state of Karnataka.
The strategic reserve is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2017, it said in a notice on Wednesday.
ISPRL has a total of 5.33 million tonnes or 36.87 million barrels of storage facilities across three cities in southern India - Vizag (1.33 mt), Mangalore (1.5 mt) and Padur (2.5 mt).
The current expression of interest is for Padur.
In 2005, the Oil Ministry set up ISPRL to build strategic storage in India to hedge against volatility of crude oil prices and sudden supply issues.
Once the facility is operational, India, which imports more than 80 percent of its crude requirement, will have almost 10 days of strategic reserves which can be used during emergencies. However, other big consumers of oil globally have around 50 days of reserves.
The notice by ISPRL said that interested parties can opt for filling any of the four or all four compartments it has built at Padur, all of which are around 5 million barrels in capacity.
The storage facilities at Vizag and Mangalore are already ready. The Vizag facility has been filled with Iraqi Basra oil while part of the Mangalore facility is filled with Iranian crude oil.
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Alexander Smith)