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Deadly Cyclone In India Halts Fuel Exports And Operations At Offshore Rigs

A severe cyclone off India’s western coast has suspended oil product exports from one port and halted operations at offshore oil platforms and other ports as authorities are evacuating people from coastal areas where the tropical cyclone Biparjoy in the Arabian Sea has already claimed seven lives.

Biparjoy is expected to make landfall on Thursday between Mandvi in India’s western state of Gujarat and Karachi in Pakistan.

Many offshore oil and gas platforms are located off Gujarat, which is also home to several major ports. Most of those have had to halt operations ahead of the cyclone.

India’s large private refiner Reliance Industries, which operates the largest refining hub in the world, Jamnagar, was forced to halt exports of diesel and other refined petroleum products from the port of Sikka, due to the cyclone, traders told Reuters on Monday.

Reliance Industries has declared a force majeure on petroleum product exports from the port of Sikka, it wrote in a letter to traders cited by Reuters.

The refinery at Jamnagar, capable of processing 704,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, is a key diesel exporter from India. In recent months, Europe has raised its imports of refined petroleum products from Asia after the EU banned imports of seaborne Russian oil products as of February 5. 

On Monday, Indian Coast Guard airlifted 11 personnel from the jack-up rig ‘Key Singapore’ operating off Dwarka to Okha off Gujarat. By Tuesday morning, all 50 personnel have been evacuated from the rig, the Indian Coast Guard said.

The Biparjoy cyclone has also suspended operations at Mundra, the largest commercial port in India, as well as vessel operations at the port of Tuna.

The port of Mundra is India’s largest coal import terminal.

In addition, the ports at Bedi, Navlakhi, Porbandar, Okha, and Bhavnagar have also been closed as the cyclone approaches.  

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By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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