Chennai Petroleum Corporation (CPCL), a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), has commenced work on the removal of a damaged crude oil pipeline along the Nagapattinam coast in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, following pressure from the fishing community, reported the Economic Times (ET).

The pipeline is designed to carry production from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation-operated oil wells at Narimanam to CPCL’s refinery in Nagapattinam along the Pattinamchery coast.

In early March 2023, CPCL’s oil pipeline developed cracks that resulted in an oil spill, polluting the nearby sea and marine environment. CPCL workers plugged the oil leak on 5 March.

However, fishing communities started protests aimed at having the pipeline removed permanently.

Subsequently, Nagapattinam district collector Arun Thamburaj and Siva V Meyyanathan, the Tamil Nadu Department of Environment and Climate Change minister, visited the oil spill site and directed CPCL authorities to remove the pipeline.

Following talks with fishing communities from Pattinamchery, Akkaraipettai and Nambiar Nagar, CPCL has agreed to permanently remove the crude oil pipeline by 31 May 2023, according to ET.

In August 2022, CPCL formed a joint venture with IOCL and other seed equity investors to build a refinery in Tamil Nadu.

Planned for Cauvery Basin Refinery in the Nagapattinam District, the $3.95bn refinery is expected to have a capacity of nine million tonnes per annum. The refinery will be equipped to produce liquefied petroleum gas, BS VI-quality gasoline, diesel and aviation turbine fuel.