"We (at IOC) have been looking at west coast for a refinery as catering to customers in west and south was difficult with our refineries mostly in the north. HPCL has also been looking at a bigger refinery because of constraints it faces at the Mumbai unit," he said.

So now, IOC, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd will jointly set up a "very large refinery" at a suitable location on the west coast, Singh cited. "The concept has gone beyond thinking stage and is now under conception," IOC Director stated.

Asked about the size of the refinery, he said, "It will be way bigger than 15 million tonnes." Fifteen million tonnes a year is the biggest refinery any public sector unit has set up in one stage. IOC recently started its 15 million tonnes unit at Paradip in Odisha.

Reliance Industries holds the distinction of building the biggest refinery in India till now. It built its first refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat with a capacity of 27 million tonnes, which was subsequently expanded to 33 million tonnes.

It has built another unit adjacent to it for exports, with a capacity of 29 million tonnes. The refinery being planned by the state-owned firms will be "bigger than that," he said, adding that the refinery will cost Rs 2,500 crore per million tonnes.

"The size, investment and configuration are all under works," he said. The refinery will also be accompanied by a petrochemical complex.

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