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While Delhi govt was alleging inadequate oxygen supply, data show it was returning oxygen to suppliers, asked them to store the excess

Due to the unavailability of storage facilities in Delhi, the turnaround time of tankers has increased, resulting in delay in supplies

While the Delhi government was claiming till yesterday that it was not getting adequate oxygen from other states to meet its demand, a study done by the Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) under the government of India has revealed that it was actually getting more oxygen than it needed.

While today the Delhi govt said that its oxygen demand has suddenly dropped to 582 MT per day despite number of active Covid-19 cases dropping only marginally, it was demanding 700 MT per day till yesterday, while saying that the state deserves 976 MT as per central govt calculations. The courts also had agreed to this demand, with Delhi High Court threatening to file a contempt of court case against the central govt if Delhi does not receive 700 MT oxygen per day. It is interesting to note that Delhi’s oxygen came down after the Supreme Court ordered an audit of oxygen used by various states, which the Delhi govt was vehemently opposing in the court.

But now it has been revealed that Delhi’s actual demand was much less than what the government was demanding, and they had to ask the suppliers to take back oxygen and store in their tanks as Delhi hospitals don’t have large storage tanks to keep the excess oxygen. According to a report on daily Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) supply to Delhi prepared by PESO, oxygen suppliers were asked to store Delhi’s allocated oxygen in their tanks on multiple occasions in this month.

For the study, stock data of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) was collected from 45-64 hospitals out of 68 hospitals situated in Delhi and having Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) storage tanks, and also from 11 oxygen cylinder re-fillers having LMO tanks. The study revealed that on both 9th and 10th May, the hospitals in Delhi had oxygen stock for 12 hours to 24 hours. The oxygen stock in the hospitals ranged from 309 MT to 477 MT. Stock in the tanks of the re-fillers ranged from 39% to 74% of their total storage capacity.

It may be noted that Delhi is supplied oxygen by 4 suppliers, Inox, Linde, Air Liquide and Goyal Gases.

The reason of the hospitals not having oxygen stock for more than 24 hours was not the lack of oxygen supply as the AAP govt is alleging, but it was due to lack of storage tanks in the hospitals. According to PESO, the Delhi govt is trying to address this issue since 9th May by trying to get alternate storage space in nearby states.

According to information received by the central govt organisation from Air Liquide, the Delhi govt had lifted only 150 MT of LMO on 10th May from their plants at Panipat and Roorkee against the allocated quota of 190 MT. The govt had asked the company to store the balance quantity in their own tanks. The Delhi govt had sent an email on 10th May to the company requesting them not to release 42 MT of LMO from Panipat plant and 20 MT of LMO from Roorkee plant and store these amounts in their storage tanks. In response, the company had assured the Delhi govt that they will store 62 MT in their tanks from 11th May.

On 9th May, the state govt also returned 74 MT Oxygen to Faridabad plant of Linde due to both non-availability of storage tanks and reduced demand in Delhi.

Details of excess LMO stored at various places: –

DatePlaceLMO Stored (in MT)Remark
09.05.2021Linde Faridabad74Out of 120 MT supplied directly to Delhi Govt. from Linde eastern sector plants, 74 MT was returned by Delhi Govt. to Linde Faridabad plant due to non-availability of storage space/less demand in Delhi.
10.05.2021Air Liquide, Panipat38M/s Air Liquide was Requested by Delhi Govt. to store their 62 MT LMO everyday at their plants at Roorkee and Panipat.
10.05.2021INOX Surajpur37M/s INOX was requested by Delhi Govt. to store 37 MT LMO at their Surajpur plant
10.05.2021Various re-fillers of Delhi37.5Directed by Delhi Govt to store at their re-filling plants.

Similarly on 10th May, Delhi govt had stored excess 38 MT oxygen at Air Liquide Panipat plant, 37 MT at Surajpur plant of Inox. Along with that, the govt had also asked the re-fillers to stock 37.5 MT LMO in their storage tanks.

When PESO asked the suppliers to explain the reason behind the reason behind shortfall in their supplies to Delhi, they gave various reasons. Linde said that it was due to delay in supply from their eastern sector plants, and also due to Delhi govt returning 74 MT oxygen due to lack of storage space. Supply from JSW, Jharsuguda fell as the Delhi govt didn’t lift their allocated oxygen from the plant. Goel Gases informed that due to unavailability of storage facilities in Delhi, turnaround time of tankers has increased, resulting in delay in supplies.

From this analysis, the PESO concluded that Delhi is receiving excess Oxygen, and as they are unable to store the oxygen, the tankers are having to wait for a long time. This has hampered the oxygen supply in the country, as the tankers are stuck in Delhi and not available to transport oxygen to places where it is needed.

In the last 10 days, Delhi received 530 MT of oxygen per day on average. But given the fact that the govt returned 74 MT on 9th May and later asked the companies to store around 100 MT in their tanks, it means that the actual demand in Delhi is less than 500 MT. This means the union govt’s estimate of Delhi’s demand was correct and the Delhi govt was demanding 700 MT despite using less than 500 MT per day.

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