A Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Wednesday to converse and give a nod to several decisions about the country. The five decisions that were deliberated at the cabinet are India and Tunisia MoU on Justice, India-Bangladesh FoU on hydrocarbon, Allotment of land to KV Sangathan, Indian Institute of Petroleum & Energy at Visakhapatnam and oil PSUs for local content.
During the cabinet, there was approval for setting up an Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam. An official statement said that “The Institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by IITs.” A separate Act will also be imparted to impart required status to the institute as a ‘centre of excellence’ in petroleum and energy studies.
The institute is being set up in Visakhapatnam as an ‘Institute of National Importance’ through an Act of Parliament. The Andhra Pradesh government has done its bit by allocating 201.8 acres of land free of cost for the institute at Sabbavaram Mandal in the district. Under the AP Society Registration Act, 2001, IIPE has also been registered as a Society since April 18, 2016.
For the institute, a capital expenditure of Rs 655.46 crore has been approved at the cabinet, with a contribution of Rs 200 crore towards its Endowment Fund and an additional Rs 200 crore coming in from the Oil companies for the same. Committed under the 13 Schedule of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, the institute is being set up. The cost for the institute is estimated to be around Rs 800 crore with the cost being borne by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, backed both financially and academically by oil majors such as HPCL, IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL, OIDB, BPCL and Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Mentoring for the institute comes in from IIT Kharagpur for the first three years and a temporary campus of IIPE has been in place at the Andhra University campus, set up from academic session 2016-17 with two undergraduate programmes – Petroleum Engineering and Chemical Engineering – each with a capacity of 50 students. Now the institute will be offering undergraduate B Tech and PG courses in petroleum, energy and chemical engineering, apart from research specific certificate courses and short term training courses.
The point of setting up the institute is to cater to the need of quantitative and qualitative man power in the petroleum sector. This way, research activities will also be promoted for the growth of the sector. The strength of the institute lies in its proximity to KG-Basin, Visakhapatnam refinery and the soon to come up Petroleum complex at Kakinada.
The main area of focus at the institute will be research and speaking to The Hindu, VSRK Prasad, Advisor, Academics, and Director (in-charge) said, “We will be allocating a sizeable chunk of the funding to build state-of-the-art laboratories with the latest equipment. The research work will not be confined to petroleum, but energy, especially alternative and renewable energy will be given equal importance. And more importantly, the research work will not be limited to the students of the institute alone, but will be open for students and researchers from these domains from across the globe and top institutes in India.”
Texas A and M University, Oxford and Robert Gordon University are in talks with the institute for collaborative research. The foundation stone for this institute will be laid today by the Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan in the presence of CM Chandrababu Naidu, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar and Union Minister for Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu. The institute is expected to be ready by 2020 and by 2018, the first batch is expected to be moved to the new campus.