Sinlung /
31 July 2015

Government To Revamp Oil Activity in Northeast India

By Animesh Singh

New Delhi, Jul 31 : The government plans to revamp exploration and production activities in the northeast sector with the aim of restoring it as the country’s hydrocarbon hub.

A series of ambitious steps like improving the output in the upstream, midstream and downstream activities as well as reviving the infrastructure are part of a vision document for the region, which is being readied by the petroleum ministry under supervision of the Prime Minister’s office.

The document, sources privy to the development said, is likely to be prepared within a month as the petroleum ministry has already set up a committee headed by additional secretary A.P. Sawhney to supervise its preparation. Crisil has been hired by the ministry to provide consultancy for the purpose.

The development of north-east region is a key part of the Narendra Modi government’s agenda, and in fact the Prime Minister had earlier stated that by 2022, when the country will be celebrating the 75th Independence Day, he is keen to reduce the total oil imports from the current 77 per cent to 67 per cent.

With the PMO directly involved in the revival of the hydrocarbon sector in the region, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited Assam in April 2015 and toured the oilfields in Digboi, Duliajan, Nazira and Numaligarh.

Mr Pradhan, during the course of his visit, had indicated that the government will soon be coming out with a vision document for boosting production as well as investment in the petroleum sector in the region.

The committee headed by Mr Sawhney has held a series of meetings to finalise the vision document and sources informed this newspaper that improving the output in the upstream activities from the current 4.5 million tonnes per annum to 6 million tonnes per annum is going to be one of the key aspects of the policy.

Apart from this, upgrading the refining infrastructure and improving refining capacities as well as evacuation procedures (especially of gas), are also part of the vision document, sources added.

Official sources said that considering the fact that the law and order situation in the north-east region is always fragile, and land acquisition is also a major obstacle there, the government, while looking to give a boost to the petroleum sector, plans to ensure that these issues are streamlined.

They however refused to divulge any details about the timeline within which the reforms in the petroleum sector are to be implemented once the vision document is prepared.


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