Updated February 11th, 2024 at 16:25 IST
India-funded refinery in Mongolia set for 2026 commissioning, despite Covid-19 delays: Ambassador
With a $1.2 billion line of credit announced by India in 2015, the refinery's development faced a 1.5-year setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- 3 min read
India-Mongolia refinery project: Mongolia's ambassador to India, Dambajav Ganbold, has confirmed that the India-assisted greenfield oil refinery project in South Gobi is on course to be operational by 2026. However, Ganbold acknowledged minor setbacks from the Indian side in supplying products for the refinery's construction.
"Of course, there are some delays from the Indian side in delivering the products, but overall, the project is progressing well," Ganbold stated, emphasising the significance of the project for bilateral relations.
With a $1.2 billion line of credit announced by India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2015 visit to Mongolia, the refinery's development faced a 1.5-year setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The work on the refinery project is going well. Because of COVID, it has been delayed by one and a half years. We believe that it will be operational by 2026," Ganbold affirmed.
The refinery's primary objective is to reduce Mongolia's dependency on Russian oil imports. Once completed, it will have a production capacity of 30,000 barrels per day or 1.5 million tonnes annually, meeting the nation's demand for gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and liquefied petroleum gas.
Mongolia anticipates a significant visit by the Indian Prime Minister in 2025, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
"We expect our President to visit India in the second half of this year, and we will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations in 2025. Therefore, we hope Prime Minister Modi will visit Mongolia to commemorate this milestone and the 10th anniversary of his first trip," the ambassador said.
Ganbold, accompanied by Union Ministers Kiren Rijiju and Meenakshi Lekhi, recently unveiled the song "Duur," marking the first musical collaboration between India and Mongolia. The song, featuring renowned Indian singer Mohit Chauhan and Mongolian artist Baataraj Erdenetsogt, symbolises the strengthening cultural ties between the two nations.
"I believe this is a great fusion and a promising start," said the ambassador. "We believe the Dragon Year will bring us closer. Indeed, the sky's the limit." He also underscored the potential for deepening economic cooperation between India and Mongolia, particularly in tourism, agriculture, and the mineral sector.
"Indian businesses can come to Mongolia for minerals, especially rare earth elements crucial for telephones," he noted.
Echoing similar sentiments about strengthening bonds beyond official channels, Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju highlighted the spiritual connection between India and Mongolia.
"Diplomatic relations are limited to formalities, and true friendship comes from informal events, like music, entertainment, and other cultural and social activities," Rijiju emphasised.
(With PTI inputs.)
Published February 11th, 2024 at 16:25 IST