Amid Covid-19 Spread, Indian Oil Initiates Rare Protocol To Keep Fuel Supplies Running
Workers perform maintenance work on Indian Oil Corp. tanks at Cochin Port in Cochin, India, on Friday, May 29, 2015. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Amid Covid-19 Spread, Indian Oil Initiates Rare Protocol To Keep Fuel Supplies Running

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As cities shutdown to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, Indian Oil Corporation has initiated a rare protocol to safeguard its workforce while at the same time ensuring that plants operate uninterruptedly so as to keep the nation's fuel supplies running.

“We are in a business where we need to ensure not just consumers get uninterrupted supplies of petrol, diesel and cooking gas (LPG), but also airlines get jet fuel on demand and supply lines for the defence forces are unhindered,” Chairman Sanjiv Singh said.

The company has implemented work from home at non-critical locations and implemented staggered work hours and working on alternate days at others with all precautions.

Its consumer facing points such as petrol pumps and LPG delivery services have initiated safeguard protocol with face masks and sanitisers.

“We have an obligation towards the nation to keep its supply lines running and we are doing everything while ensuring employee and consumer safety,” he said adding that rare times require extraordinary measures and Indian Oil and all its employees are rising to the occasion to serve the nation.

“To keep our operations running, we have to ensure that crude oil is imported on regular basis, it is stored and then refined at refineries and the fuel so produced is transported to depots from where it has to be moved to consumer dispensing points. These are 24x7 operations and so we have taken measures to ensure they run while at the same time employees are protected,” he said.

At petrol pumps and LPG distributorships, the company is trying to run operations with minimum number of employees while ensuring they do not take public transport, he said.

In all this, the company has to also ensure that the switch over to ultra-clean BS-VI petrol and diesel, equivalent to Euro-VI emission compliant fuel, happens before April 1 deadline, he said.

“The challenge before us is to protect employees and consumers. Challenge is that we cannot stop operations at any plant, location or retail outlet. The challenge is to maintain supplies at all times,” he said.

The protocol IOC has implemented involves restricting outsider entries to company plants and townships as well as avoiding non-essential gathering of people, Singh said adding that board meetings are being conducted through video conferencing.

“Indian Oil Tanking Ltd. and Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (IOC subsidiaries) will hold forthcoming board meetings through video conferencing,” he said.

IOC also tweeted pictures of its employees and retail outlet operators in precautionary gears while doing refills.

We are ensuring cashless payments on home delivery of Indane cylinders and are taking all necessary precautions for safety, the company added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, IOC said it continues to maintain normal operations at its refineries, pipelines and marketing locations despite the threat of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

“All IOC refineries remain unaffected and are operating at 100 percent capacity for the last one week, and the upliftment of finished products from them remains normal as on date with upcountry bulk storage locations building up their stocks,” it said.

Appropriate advisories have been issued for IOC fuel station dealers, pump attendants, LPG distributors and delivery boys manning the customer touchpoints to maintain approved safety protocols.

IOC has reduced aviation fuel (ATF) prices with effect in line with international prices of the product. “In support of the airlines clients, IOC will now revise ATF prices every fortnight instead of at the beginning of every month,” it said.

On Sunday, the day the country will observe Janta Curfew (self-imposed social isolation) between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., all IOC fuel stations will be open as per their regular working hours subject to local directives of state governments and district administrations.

“The fuel stations will operate with skeletal staff to serve customers while ensuring social distancing norms,” it said adding IOC is also maximising bottling operations and LPG refill deliveries to ensure that most customer requests for refills are attended to.

Adequate care is also being taken with respect to the tank-trucks drivers ferrying petroleum products to consumption points, it added.

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