India's IOC diverts oil cargoes ahead of cyclone


NEW DELHI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Indian Oil Corp hasdiverted a tanker of Angolan crude to the high seas and shut apipeline as cyclone Phailin heads for India's east coast, acompany source said.

The cyclone is the fiercest to threaten India in fourteenyears. Tens of thousands of residents in low-lying areas havefled their homes.

India's largest refiner has moved the very large crudecarrier (VLCC) DHT Phoenix loaded with a million barrels of Saxiand Nemba crudes from the Paradip port, the source, who is notauthorised to speak to media, told Reuters.

He said IOC also diverted the aframax tanker Desh Rakshakcontaining 87,097 tonnes or about 638,000 barrels of oil toHaldia after partially unloading it at Paradip port.

This aframax was carrying Mumbai High and Malaysia's Labuancrude, the source said.

"We have taken these steps as a precaution. We have closedthe Paradip- Haldia pipeline for three days from today," thissource said, adding the company has also shut its Single BuoyMooring facility at the port.

IOC, along with subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp,controls about 31 percent of India's oil refining capacity of4.3 million bpd. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma, editing by William Hardy)

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