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Big-ticket plans for oil sector in Assam

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 24 - Public sector oil firms will invest Rs 6,000 crore in Assam during the current fiscal as part of the Hydrocarbon Vision Plan 2030.

�In this fiscal, the public sector oil firms will make an investment of Rs 6,000 crore in Assam. This amount will be invested for implementing various plans, including capacity expansion, terminals, new pipelines, marketing and other activities. We have already started the work in this regard,� Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharmendra Pradhan said here today.

Pradhan was addressing a press conference jointly with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal after a meeting attended by officials of his ministry, the State Government and oil sector PSUs.

He added that as per the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North East, announced in February, a total of Rs 1,30,000 crore will be invested in the region. Out of this, Rs 80,000 crore will be spent in Assam.

Pradhan said the Government has drawn up a plan to augment the refining capacity of the four refineries located in the North East � Digboi, Guwahati, Bongaigaon and Numaligarh. �The four refineries have a combined installed capacity of 7 MMTPA. Our target is to expand the refining capacity of the region to 16 MMTPA,� he added.

He added that the Hydrocarbon Vision document seeks to turn the northeastern region into a hub for hydrocarbons by developing crude import infrastructure and promoting trade between the region and neighbouring countries, like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the Southeast Asian nations.

As part of its plans to develop the hydrocarbon sector in the State, the Centre will put 12 small oilfields of Assam under auction, along with 55 other fields in the rest of the country. �All these 67 oilfields are with Oil India and ONGC. As these are small oilfields, they were not so financially viable. Now we are looking to auction them,� Pradhan said.

A road-show will be held in Guwahati tomorrow to attract bidders for the 12 blocks located in Assam. The auction process for the small fields will begin on July 15.

Pradhan said plans are afoot to increase the consumption of liquefied petroleum products and to increase the per capita consumption of power in Assam.

The minister said that the per capita consumption of liquid petroleum product in Assam is 62 kg as against the national average of 138 kg, while the same in respect to electricity consumption stands at 254 KW as compared to 1,000 KW in entire India.

He said that the Numaligarh Refinery has started sending oil through pipeline to Bangladesh. The refinery will also start producing bamboo-based ethanol by 2017-18.

The minister said that a 5,000-km additional network of pipelines would be laid in the North East to boost production and distribution of crude, products, LPG and natural gas. Pradhan said that imported crude from Nigeria will be brought to cater to the increase in the production capacity of the oil refineries in Assam.

In this regard, he said that the Centre has requested the State Government to waive entry tax on imported crude with a view to increasing the volume of imported crude oil.

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