NEW DELHI: Directing ships carrying petroleum products and crude oil to avoid cyclone Yaas’s path, suspending project site activities, and maintaining adequate petroleum product stocks are some of the measures undertaken by state-run oil and gas companies to limit the damage along India’s east coast.

With up to 185 kmph wind speeds expected due to the cyclone that originated in the Bay of Bengal, these preparations follow the extensive loss of life and property earlier last week caused by cyclone Tauktae.

“Merely two weeks after cyclone Tauktae wreaked havoc and left behind a trail of destruction, India is bracing for another cyclone, Cyclone Yaas, likely to make landfall at north Odisha—West Bengal coast between Paradip and Sagar Island on Wednesday evening,” Indian Oil Corporation Ltd said in a statement on Tuesday.

As per the company, there are no crude tankers at single-point morning stations and all tankers scheduled to berth have been moved away from the cyclone’s path. Also, all supply vessels to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s offshore drilling rig sites have been moved.

In addition, work has been suspended at storage caverns for domestic cooking gas, and transportation of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) through pipelines will be suspended in case of rough weather. Also, precautionary measures have been taken at IOC’s Haldia and Pardip refineries. State-run refineries are diverting liquid medical oxygen to hospitals.

“Oil industry officials are in close coordination with Paradip and Haldia Port authorities on the berthing and de-berthing of vessels/barges at jetties,” the statement said.

The government has put in place measures such as bringing fishing boats onshore, cancelling passenger trains in areas likely to be impacted by the cyclone Yaas, and ensuring safety of oil and gas installations, ships, and docks. Apart from damage to houses and crops, power and communication poles were uprooted due to Tauktae, and shipping vessels and crafts’ moorings gave way.

“Planned shutdown of identified hydrocarbon units to be taken before the wind speed exceeds, say, 60-80 kph (based on IMD forecast),” the statement added.

According to the ministry of earth sciences, cyclone Yaas moved northwestwards with a speed of about 17 kmph during the past six hours.

“It is very likely to move north-northwestwards, intensify further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours. It would continue to move north-northwestwards, intensify further and reach Northwest Bay of Bengal near north Odisha and West Bengal coasts very close to Chandbali-Dhamra port by the early morning of Wednesday, the 26th May. It is very likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar Island close to north of Dhamra and south of Balasore, during noon of Wednesday, the 26th May as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm,” the ministry said in a statement.

With the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, that originated in Wuhan, China, raging across the country, transporting liquid medical oxygen across the states is crucial to help meet the surge in demand across the country.

“The Oil and Gas industry is also geared up to ensure a continuous supply of petroleum products, other essential commodities, including medical oxygen, for continued COVID-19 management. All-out efforts are underway to ensure that the supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from the eastern part of India to the rest of the country doesn’t get affected by the cyclonic storm,” the Indian Oil statement said.

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