Indian Oil energy solution to 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica

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Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, one of major fuel supplier of the country, has supplied Jet A1 fuel, lubes and Marine Gas Oil (MGO) as a bouquet offering for the prestigious 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA) mission.

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, one of major fuel supplier of the country, has supplied Jet A1 fuel, lubes and Marine Gas Oil (MGO) as a bouquet offering for the prestigious 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA) mission.

The unique feature of this supply is that the aviation fuel Jet A1 has been supplied in bulk. It is in packed form to a non-aviation customer, and is delivered to an ocean-going vessel for the first time. The fuel will be used for aviation support and power generation units. As well as it will be used in snowmobiles and for the voyage itself.

After about 22 years, yet again, the Antarctica expedition is procuring fuel from India. Till the last expedition, fuel was being obtained from outside the country.

The expedition needs various types of fuel and lubricants for their logistic needs at the two Indian stations in Antarctica. Indian Oil’s strength to provide a complete energy solution to National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) via a single window is a feather in our cap and a support for “Make in India” objectives.

Spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’

Indian Oil fueling the 40th ISEA truly exhibits the spirit of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

At Mormugao Port, Goa, Gurmeet Singh, Director (Marketing), Indian Oil and Dr M Ravichandran, Director, NCPOR, in the presence of Dr E Ramesh Kumar, Chairman, Mormugao Port Trust and Dr N Vinod Kumar, Postmaster General, Goa Region attended the fueling ceremony of the 40thISEA.

This expedition marks four decades of Indian scientific endeavour in Antarctica. And it is being undertaken with the ice class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin. It has a heli-hangar that accommodates two helicopters used for conveyance in the field and to move cargo between the ship and the Antarctic stations.

On this occasion, Dr Vinod Kumar released two first-day covers – one to commemorate this 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica, and the second one to commemorate the four decades of India’s Antarctica programme, under which the first Indian expedition to Antarctica sailed from Goa on December 6, 1981 and reached the shores of this polar continent on January 9, 1982.

Maitri and Bharati stations

India has two stations in the polar continent of Antarctica – Maitri and Bharati. These are being operated under NCPOR, Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences. The 40th ISEA has a 43-member team of scientists, engineers, doctors, and technicians. Three polar veterans – Dr Yogesh Ray from National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research; Atul Suresh Kulkarni from Indian Institute of Geomagnetism; and Ravindra Santosh More from India Meteorological Department are the team leaders.

Cautious steps have been taken to avoid contraction and spread of Covid-19 on board expedition and the virus reaching Antarctica.

Highlighting the pivotal role of NCPOR in this vital mission, Dr Ravichandran said, “Polar regions are crucially important in answering key questions about the global climate change, its contribution towards global sea-level rise, the background aerosol properties, variability in the sea ice cover and phenomenon like Antarctic haze and ozone concentrations. 

“Attempts to address some of these issues are helping in mitigating several important problems concerning human life and well-being. The 40th ISEA is a comprehensive programme and shall focus on climate change related studies, geology, ocean observations, electric & magnetic flux measurements, environmental monitoring, etc.”

Logistical challenges

Adding on, Javed Beg, Group Director (Antarctic Operations & Infrastructure) said, “Every expedition is different and presents diverse challenges. But the 40th expedition is unique. It takes place amid the coronavirus pandemic with innumerable logistical challenges. 

“The expedition, apart from its scientific mission, shall carry out the humanitarian responsibility of relieving the 48-strong winter crew from their 15-month tenure, while resupplying the bases with food, fuel, provisions and spares for operations and maintenance of life support systems.”

Indian Oil – fuel partner in national endeavours

In his keynote address, Gurmeet Singh said: “Historically, Indian Oil has been a preferred fuel partner in national endeavours, such as the defence services and railways. And now with its association with the 40th ISEA, the Corporation has earned the unique distinction of providing uninterrupted availability of petroleum products from the coldest region of the country –from Leh to the coldest region of the world –Antarctica.”

“Delivering greatest value across its spectrum of customers has been the motto of Indian Oil. The Company has had many prestigious firsts. It was first in the country to supply bunker fuel with the new specifications mandated by the International Maritime Organisation.

“Indian Oil is also the first oil company in the country to produce BS-VI compliant winter-grade High Speed Diesel (HSD). It is capable of withstanding extremely low temperatures of up to -33 degree centigrade in winter in the Himalayan region and supply of MIL-grade HFHSD (High Flash HSD) for the Indian Navy from Paradip and Haldia refineries,” he added.

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