Process to lease out 12 Assam oil fields to begin next month
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 24: Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said his ministry is trying to make Assam a hub of petroleum products for Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar as well for South East Asia.
Unveiling the ministry's plan to invest Rs 1,30,000 crore in the sector by 2030, Pradhan said: "Out of this amount, Rs 80,000 crore will be invested in Assam." The ministry has already prepared a roadmap for investing Rs 6,000 crore in the State in the current fincial year, he added.
"The State is getting Rs 4,500 crore as revenue from the petroleum sector, we want to raise it in the range of Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore in the next couple of years," he added.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal and state Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary accompanied Pradhan at the press conference.
"Our plan is to make Assam and Northeast a hub of petroleum products so that it can cater to the requirements of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar," Pradhan said.
"We are planning to make the whole of the northeast region including Assam a hydrocarbon hub. The planned investment includes capacity enhancement of the four refineries in the State including the Digboi refinery, the Guwahati refinery, the Bongaigaon refinery and the Numaligarh refinery," Pradhan said, adding that the plan is to enhance the refining capacity of the four refineries to 16 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT). The existing capacity of the four refineries is only seven MMT per year.
He said renovation works are on at the Lakwa and mrup thermal projects. "We have made arrangements with the OIL and ONGC for supply of gas to these projects, from which the State will get an additiol power of 447 MW," the minister said.
Pradhan said the Central government is also planning to set up 5,000-km grid of crude pipeline, product pipeline, LPG pipeline and tural gas pipeline in the region.
"I have visited Russia recently and the Central government wants to procure gas from Russia. We are considering probable routes to bring the gas and it can be brought to Agartala through Chittagong port in Bangladesh from where it can be transferred to other parts of the region," he said, adding that the proposed plan to set up a grid of 5,000 km of pipeline network will be helpful for this.
The Union minister said that OIL and ONGC have discovered 67 small oilfields across the country and Assam has 12 of them. "We have divided them into eight clusters and the process for leasing these small oilfields will start from mid July this year," he added.
Pradhan also said that the Central government will extend all possible help to Assam in claiming its oil royalty of Rs 1,450 crore, which was due.
He said that the Union and State governments have resolved to start the legal process for claiming its due oil royalty from OIL and ONGC, which was pending due to a case in Supreme Court.
Pradhan explained that although the Supreme Court is yet to decide on the oil royalty since 2008, it has asked the oil majors to pay the royalty from 2014 till date to Gujarat, who had approached the apex court. However, Assam was still deprived of its dues of Rs 1,450 crore by the two oil majors.
He requested the Government of Assam not to levy entry tax on imported crude with a view to 'increase the volume of imported crude oil'.