In line with the Government’s policy to make the country self-sufficient in basic industrial products, a petroleum refinery named Eastern Refinery Ltd., has been built in East Pakistan in collaboration with the East Pakistan industrial Development Corporation and the Burmah Oil Company Ltd., London. Flanked by the Petroleum Distributing Companies namely ESSO (Standard Oils), PNOL (Pakistan National Oils Ltd.) and B. E. (Burmah Eastern) on one side, and the Chittagong Steel Mill and other EPIDC enterprises on the other, Eastern Refinery stands on an expanse of 82 acres of land in the pictures-que locale of the industrial belt of North Patenga, Chittagong.
Built at a cost of Rs. 13.5 crores, the Eastern Refinery which is the first petroleum refinery in East Pakistan, is designed to process 1.5 million tons of crude oil annually.
Although Pakistan is basically an agricultural country, but for an integrated growth of the country industrial progress must go side by side with agricultural development. The two are complementary. While any setback in the agricultural sector would affect industrial growth, modern cultivation is inconceivable without industrial progress as agriculture has to depend for all its inputs, except seeds, on industries. In the initial stages lack of know-how, uncertainty about the industrial future, absence of quotable amounts of raw mate-rials acted as retarding factors in industrial development. But even the lack of raw materials could not make the Government swerve from its aim of attaining self-sufficiency in basic industrial products, savings foreign exchange and increasing employment opportunities. Thanks to this far-sighted policy, the public and private sectors have, of late, taken encouragingly rapid strides in industrial development.
Eastern Refinery is not only a milestone in the industrial development of East Pakistan but is also a fine example of how the private and public sectors can combine to work with foreign participants for the progress of the country. At present this Refinery is owned 35% by the public, 35% by E.P.I.D.C. and 30% by Burmah Oil Co. Ltd., who took over the share formerly held by ERAP of France. To meet the foreign exchange require-ments for imported materials, the Government of Pakistan made available French Suppliers Credit under conditions of Washington Consortium.
Eastern Refinery which is designed to process 1.5 million tons of crude oil every year will meet most of East Pakistan’s demand for petroleum products. Although it will be importing crude oil, chemicals and stores worth over Rs. 10 crores a year, it will save upto Rs. 4 crores in foreign exchange by processing the crude oil. This is one of the many benefits that will flow from the refinery.
In its production schedule, Eastern Refinery has already made tremen4ous strides, it is the only refinery in the country which has made the best use of imported Crude Oil by recover-ing maximum amount of middle distillates, within, limits of its equipment design, has produced High Octane Blending Com-ponent (H.O.B.C.) which is replacing imported Automotive 100 Octane in the market, has kept the Jute Mills of the province running by quickly producing Jute Batching Oil when there was an acute shortage of this imported product and has produced aviation fuels namely JP-1 and JP-4.