Explained: Why IOC has developed a special fuel for use in Ladakh

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the uninterrupted supply of the special fuel to Ladakh would reduce the hardships faced by the local people for transportation and mobility during winter months, helping facilitate the local economy and tourism.

On Sunday, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) launched a special winter-grade diesel for the high-altitude regions of Ladakh that can withstand extremely low temperatures during the winter months. IOC is a Public Sector Unit (PSU), and is India’s largest commercial oil company.

In a statement, IOC said, “IndianOil has come up with an innovative solution to the problem of loss of fluidity in diesel by introducing a special winter-grade diesel with a low pour point of -33° Celsius which doesn't lose its fluidity function even in extreme winter weather conditions.”

https://twitter.com/IndianOilcl/status/1196046613820641280

Why the special fuel for Ladakh

In a press release, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said that fuel is developed for motorists in high-altitude sectors like Ladakh, Kargil, Kaza and Keylong, who face the problem of freezing of diesel in their vehicles when winter temperatures reach -30 deg Celsius.

Regular diesel fuel contains paraffin wax which is added for improving viscosity and lubrication. At low temperatures, the paraffin wax thickens or “gels” and hinders the flow of the fuel in the car engine.

Special types of diesel are thus used at low temperatures that contain additives enabling the fuel to remain fluid in such conditions.

The winter-grade diesel developed by IOC has a low pour point (the temperature below which the liquid loses its flow characteristics) of -33° Celsius, making it capable of withstanding the extreme winter weather conditions in Ladakh.

According to the IOC statement, arrangements have been made for pumping the winter-grade diesel from the Panipat Refinery to Jalandhar.

From Jalandhar, the fuel will be carried to Leh depot by road, so that it would be available petrol pumps at the highest altitude in Ladakh on a regular basis. The company expects the sale of the winter-grade fuel to be around 4 lakh litres for the period December-March, it said in the statement.

“IndianOil’s winter-grade diesel meets BIS specifications and has been successfully produced and certified for the first time by IndianOil’s Panipat Refinery on 08th Nov 2019,” the statement said.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the uninterrupted supply of the special fuel to Ladakh would reduce the hardships faced by the local people for transportation and mobility during winter months, helping facilitate the local economy and tourism.

IOC also said that it had set up an LPG bottling plant of 6 TMTPA (thousand metric tonnes per annum) capacity at Leh, the highest of its kind in the world, to ensure uninterrupted supplies in the region.

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