DIGBOI, April 18: OPEC secretary general Dr Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo and an OPEC delegation recently visited one of the world’s oldest refineries, Digboi, and oil well No.1 in the remote north-eastern corner of the country. In its 117th year of historic refining journey, the AOD Digboi Refinery of Indian Oil Corporation Limited achieved yet another new milestone following installation of another plant in the refinery, also termed as ‘Gangotri of the Indian Hydrocarbon sector’. The new plant of Crumb Rubber Modified Bitumen (CRMB) in the refinery was unveiled by the secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Dr. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo. The significant ceremony took place in presence of other officials of OPEC, senior officials of AOD Digboi Refinery and a large gathering of employees.
“A dream fulfilled,” Dr Mohammad Barkindo said during the significant tour to India’s first oil well No. 1. He showered compliments on both Indian Oil and AOD Digboi management for taking this innovative step towards evolving CRMB as special product. A tour of the refinery included pit-stops at the 1928 vintage Wax Moulding Shed and the historic ‘Still’. Earlier owned and operated by the Assam Oil Company Limited/Burmah Oil Company, it came into the fold of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited by an Act of Parliament on October 14, 1981 and became the Assam Oil Division of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited. “I am on a pilgrimage,” remarked Dr Barkindo as he stood awestruck while visiting Oil Discovery Well No. 1 and the various vintage refining equipment exhibited inside the Digboi Centenary Museum Complex.
The OPEC team was given a guided tour of the museum by Sabeena Chowdhary, CM (H, CC & CSR) with detailed brief about the incredible facts that led to the discovery of oil in the remote corner of India. The visit of the OPEC team to Digboi was commemorated aptly as each of them planted a fruit-bearing tree inside the museum complex.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Barkindo said, “Contrary to some views, the petroleum industry devotes its maximum priority, time and resources in the care and concern for the environment. I am extremely honoured on being able to participate in this meaningful action of tree plantation, that too in this revered birthplace of oil.” The OPEC team also visited the Digboi War Cemetery.