Centre Okays Oil and Gas Projects Worth Rs 1 Lakh Crore For Northeast

Digboi Refinery in Assam to be Expanded: Hardeep Singh Puri

GUWAHATI: Union minister for petroleum and natural gas Hardeep Singh Puri Friday said that the Centre has okayed oil and gas project worth Rs 1 lakh crore for Northeast, which is expected to be completed by 2025.

Puri was addressing an event organised by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas in Guwahati to showcase Upstream Oil & Gas opportunities in the Northeast.

Puri announced that the Digboi refinery in Assam will be expanded. He also assured that the issue of blending ethanol with petrol at the refinery level will also be explored.

Secretary MoPNG, senior officials of the Central and state governments, DGH and various stakeholders took part in the meeting.

“The Northeast of India with its abundant natural resources, rich cultural heritage and huge opportunities for growth is central to our country’s development agenda. The North-Eastern States of India is perceived to be highly prospective based on available geoscientific information and hence ample opportunities for potential oil and gas finds through accelerated exploration exists in the region,” Puri said.

Puri said that the NER is of strategic importance for India. In line with its intent of rapidly transforming the region, the Union government has undertaken many key initiatives to augment Infrastructure and pace economic development. He mentioned about following key Oil and Gas initiatives in the Northeast.

Special Bidding Round under OALP for NER with acreages being carved out by Government and offered with Additional Incentives for attracting Investments, he said.

Doubling the exploration acreage in NER from the existing 30,000 Sq. Kms to 60,000 Sq. Kms by 2025 (Approx. 20,000 Sq. Km of the area already awarded under OALP over last three years in Northeast, the Union minister said.

He also disclosed the plans to Double the Oil and Gas production from the current 9 MMTOE to 18 MMTOE by 2025 in addition to plans for setting up a dedicated service provider hub to support the requirement of Oil and Gas Industry in collaboration with state governments.

Implementation of North East Gas Grid (NEGG) will also provide access to natural gas to end-user in the north-eastern region, Puri further said.

Six Geographical Area (GAs) comprising of 18 districts in Assam and Tripura are on offer under the 11th Round of CGD Bid Round for developing the City Gas Distribution (CGD) network. He said.

Puri said that the outlook of E&P business in the North East Region is indeed promising. There is a huge hydrocarbon potential waiting to be tapped; of the estimated 7600 MMTOE in the Northeast, only 2000 MMTOE has been discovered so far. With concerted efforts by industry and governments, oil production is expected to increase by 67% from 4.11 MMT in 2020-21 to 6.85 MMT in the next 4 years. Gas production is forecasted to more than double from 5.05 BCM in 2020-21 to 10.87 BCM in the next 4 years.

Calling upon the investors to actively participate in upcoming rounds and become part of the national E&P enterprise which is set to gather momentum in the days ahead, the Union minister said that much impetus has been given to NER in the recent past, which will act as a catalyst for the envisaged future growth in the region.

Puri appreciated the launch of the portal by the Assam government for the facilitation of statutory clearances and approvals for E&P operators and hoped that other state governments will also launch similar initiatives. In this context, he announced that there will be periodic meetings through VC with NE states to sort out the issues.

Earlier, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in his push for a greener future and cut carbon emission requested the Union minister to allow the refineries in Assam to go ahead with 20 per cent ethanol blending in their plants.

Putting forward his requests Sarma said that if the refineries of the state are allowed to do the ethanol blending in their plants, the proposition becomes cost-effective and the state will be able to meet its demands of green fuel from its yard. Referring to the state government’s Ethanol Production Promotion Policy and the ethanol’s utilization in oil marketing companies, Sarma said that in the event, oil refineries are allowed for ethanol blending, there will be capacity empowerment of the companies besides enabling them to meet the demands of green energy.

Sarma also requested Union minister Puri for his ministry’s support in the capacity enhancement of Digboi Oil Refinery which has the distinction of being the first refinery in Asia and one of the oldest refineries in operation. He also requested the Union Minister for expanding the base of the gas cracker project in Assam as well as his ministry’s support for exploration of the energy sources in the state.

Welcoming the Union minister’s maiden visit to the state after assuming the portfolio of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the chief minister said that his government will extend all possible help to the ministry in its bid to efficient management of all its projects in Assam and starting new ones in the state.

Speaking on the occasion, Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, Rameswar Teli said that the country is going to become a top energy consumer in the coming times. For ensuring energy security it is important that Oil and Gas sector should develop fast and import dependence should come down.

Teli said that NER has large potential and the same should be explored in active participation with the State Governments.

The plenary session of the event was chaired by Puri. Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Rameswar Teli and ministers from Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram took part in the event.

The objective of the conference was to highlight the portfolio of high-volume Oil and Gas assets of Indian Sedimentary basins and to promote the Bidding Rounds of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy and Discovered Small fields Policy. The event saw enthusiastic participation from the Central and State Government, leaders of National oil companies, private E&P companies, Service Providers and Academic Institutions.

The theme of the event was aligned to Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for north-east India, which is a paradigm shift in production and utilization of hydrocarbons to catalyze growth in the North East region and to improving the standard of living for the people, generating opportunities for the youth and creating a sustainable energy secure future.

This was one of the biggest E&P sector events of recent time in the region which was exhaustively planned with a comprehensive set of presentations and panel discussions touching a gamut of topics on the E&P sector.

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