GUWAHATI, Oct 19 - Though the fall of crude oil prices in the international market is affecting the oil companies, including the Oil India Limited (OIL), it is beneficial for the country as a whole as India has to meet 80 percent of its crude oil requirement through imports.
OIL Chairman cum Managing Director Utpal Bora admitted that the OIL would face financial problems if the price of crude falls below $ 30 a barrel in the international market. He said that at present, the price in the international market is hovering around $ 50 a barrel and at this rate, it is comfortable for the OIL. �Definitely, we will be more comfortable if the price in the international market goes up to around $ 60 a barrel,� he admitted.
At the same time, Bora said that the country managed to save around $ 64 billion last year from crude imports because of the fall of prices in the international market.
On the problems faced by the OIL in Upper Assam due to local agitations, including frequent bandhs, Bora said that there were some such problems, but �I have personally spoken to the leaders of various organisations and informed them about the broader picture. I have told them categorically that such agitations would not only harm the OIL but the State as a whole in the long run. The OIL cannot employ unlimited number of people and we promised to be very open in matters of appointments and awarding contracts. We hope that we would be getting full cooperation from all the local organisations,� he added.
On the law and order front, Bora said that he had detailed discussions with the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police and all of them have assured full cooperation in this regard.
In another major development, the Government of India has entrusted the OIL with the responsibility of geographical survey of the unexplored areas of the entire North East region. The survey, to be funded by the Petroleum Ministry, would be conducted in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland. The government would be able to go for awarding contracts for exploration, after the survey report is ready.
Replying to a question on the allegation that some tea gardens are suffering because of the failure of the OIL to provide adequate gas, Bora said that the OIL has been supplying the allocated gas to not only the tea gardens but also to the power projects and fertiliser companies. He said that some tea gardens were drawing more than what they were allotted, which resulted in shortage of gas for the others. He said that he has already discussed the issue with the Chief Minister and the problem has been sorted out. Discussions are on with the Assam Gas Company, through which the OIL supplies gas to the gardens, to replace the old regulators so that the problem can be settled permanently. He also said that steps have been initiated to increase gas production as per the new policy of the Government of India.
Bora further said that efforts have been launched to improve the morale of the officers and staff of the OIL through various measures, including promotions, to improve the overall performance of the company.