Millennium Post

NE oil & gas output to double; refining to get Rs 1.3 tn investment

Oil and natural gas output from North East India will be doubled, besides ramping up refining capacity, entailing an investment of Rs 1,30,000 crore over the next 15 years. 

Releasing the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for Northeast India, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said the region has enormous potential in the oil and gas sector. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we decided to prepare a separate vision document for the North East to take the region forward.The entire region has huge potential and requires specific attention and investment for its development,” Pradhan said.

The Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for Northeast India sets a goal to “increase production of oil and natural gas by two times”. “To achieve this target, Rs 1,30,000 crore investment will be made by different players in the next 15 years in North East. This means, every year Rs 8,000-10,000 crore investment will be made and most will come to Assam,” the minister said. To increase the output, new technologies will be introduced in association with private players and the refineries will be upgraded to produce BS VI fuel, he added. “We are talking to Schlumberger for exploration. We will get advanced technologies from the tie-up and this will help in increasing the output,” Pradhan said. He also said the distribution network, including setting up of an additional 7,000 km pipelines, will be strengthened in the region during the period. Of the Rs 1,30,000 crore investment, Rs 80,000 crore will be required for upstream activities of existing and new oil and gas blocks for exploration. An amount of Rs 20,000 crore will be needed for midstream actions, including setting up of four new natural gas pipelines, five new POL product pipelines and three new LPG pipelines. 

In the downstream area, three existing refineries will be expanded, a new bio-refinery will be set up at Numaligarh and CGD network will be developed across the region at a total investment of Rs 30,000 crore over the next 15 years. 

The crude oil production in North East stood at 4.54 MMT in 2014-15, while the natural gas production was 11.3 mmscmd.

The region has a crude oil pipeline network of over 1,500 km that is operated by Oil India and ONGC, while it has 950 km long natural gas pipeline. Besides, the region has a product pipeline network of over 1,126 km that transports petroleum products such as diesel and petrol from refineries to different locations.

North East India has four refineries with a combined installed capacity of 7 mmtpa, all of them in Assam. 

Asked about the source of the investment over the next 15 years, Pradhan said: “We do not need any budgetary allocation for this amount. The amount will be put in by the companies on their own for development of the hydrocarbon sector of North East.” 

On effective implementation of the plans mentioned in the document, Pradhan said the Chief Secretary of Assam has suggested to set up an authority to monitor the progress of the objectives.

“I have accepted that suggestion and very soon we will come out with a framework on that.” Talking about creation of jobs because of the new added thrust in the sector, Pradhan said around 15,000 direct employment and 50,000 indirect employment will be witnessed over the next 15 years. The Numaligarh refinery will start work from this fiscal to set up a bamboo-based ethanol plant within its complex.

The document envisages providing access to clean fuel (LPG, PNG) to all households at affordable prices, to promote production of bio fuel and to develop service provider hubs.

It also aims expansion of refining capacity in Northeast, develop crude import infrastructure and promote trade between the region and neighbouring SAARC countries, mainly with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.

Besides, the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 decided to generate employment through promotion of manufacturing industry and focus on skill development in the region.

The Petroleum Ministry will also contribute Rs 50 crore in next fiscal for social developmental work of Majuli island, preservation of rhino and other CSR activities.
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