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Technical dips
February, 22nd 2007

Ever wondered how auditors verify the physical stocks of crude and finished petroleum products? It is done `by taking dip measurement of each tank,' informs Technical Guide on Internal Audit in Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing (Downstream) Enterprises, a recent publication of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (www.icai.org). Dip measurement is referred to the tank's calibration chart (certified by CPWD) to find out the volume of the product, explains the book, the basic draft of which has been written by M. Ravi Bala Subrahmanyam, a CA in IBP Co Ltd.

Since petroleum products are highly volatile, losses and gains do happen in transit, storage and handling, due to variation in temperature. If transit losses are more than normal, the same is recovered from the transporters such as coastal tankers, the Railways and lorry contractors, one learns.

Interception, non-delivery, short-receipt and excess freight are situations under which claims are normally lodged with the Railways. "If any wagon is not received for more than a month, all efforts should be made to trace the wagon," insists the author.

It may be interesting to know that `interception' happens, for example, when the product tank wagon, mostly with HSD (high-speed diesel), is intercepted by loco foremen of the Railways for Railways' consumption at any of the stations en route to the destination station! "Although the Railways have the consumer supply arrangement with oil companies, yet at times, some of their locations are likely to become dry due to delay in receipt of wagons despatched on Railways' account and the loco foremen may decide to pull out a few wagons from the rack of wagons moving on the line and decant into their storage tanks."

Wish we could get the statistics of such interception!

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