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Indian Oil repairs illegally tapped oil pipeline, launches investigation

Indian Oil Corp. has repaired and restored the Mathura-Delhi section of its Mathura-Jalandhar pipeline, where an instance of illegal tapping was detected on 17 February.

The pipeline was put it back into service the same night to ensure uninterrupted transport of petroleum products.

Early on 17 February, Indian Oil's security guards patrolling the RK Puram area of Mathura district found illegal tapping of the pipeline being carried out through a 15ft deep tunnel.

A first information report (FIR) was logged with the police immediately and the case is under investigation.

Indian Oil owns and operates a 12,500km network of crude oil, product, and gas pipelines, of which the Mathura-Jalandhar pipeline, spanning about 535km, transports finished products from its Mathura refinery to various consumption centres of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Punjab.

With a throughput capacity of 3.7 million tonnes per annum, the pipeline traverses via Delhi-Panipat-Ambala and terminates at Jalandhar. 

The company calls illegal tapping of petroleum pipelines a “global menace” and pipeline operators have been adopting various measures to curb the issue.

Indian Oil too has taken up several measures, such as day-and-night patrolling by security guards, round-the-clock online monitoring of pipeline pressure and flow conditions, installation of leak detection systems, and surprise patrolling by senior officers.

The firm is also seeking the help of the local administration and police in curbing instances of pipeline tapping and pilferage, which has occurred sporadically despite the multiple measures being in place.

Contrary to media reports that the illegal tapping was going on for many months, Indian Oil states that no pressure variation was observed in the pipeline system in the past, except on three occasions this month.

As per preliminary oil accounting done by Indian Oil internally, it said in a statement that only a “negligible quantity” might have been pilfered. 

Senior officials from the company are cooperating fully with the police in the case.