“The government has drawn up a plan to raise the capacity of Assam’s four refineries to 16 MTPA. With more quantity of crude oil to be pumped into the state from Nigeria and West Africa, Assam will become India’s petroleum hub for the entire Southeast Asian region. We have already started sending petroleum products to Bangladesh and Bhutan,” Pradhan, who is Minister of State (independent charge) for petroleum, said.The Centre, in its Hydrocrabon Vision 2030 for the Northeast, has envisaged investing Rs 1.30 lakh crore in the petroleum sector in the region in the next 14 years, of which Rs 80,000 crore will be invested in Assam alone. “In the current financial year, we are investing about Rs 6,000 crore in Assam,” he informed.The Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for Northeast also envisages to increase the storage capacity for petroleum products and LPG within the region, for which a network of 5,000 km of pipelines was also in the offing, said Pradhan.
While Assam’s crude oil reserves being limited, the requirement of the four refineries – Digboi, Numaligarh, Guwahati and Bongaigaon – will be met through the import from Nigeria and West Africa, he said. The imported crude oil will be pumped into these refineries through the Paradip-Haldia-Barauni-Guwahati pipeline, he added.
Gas for power plants
The petroleum ministry on Friday here also agreed to the Assam government’s proposal for allotment of more natural gas to two existing power plants of the state which are currently undergoing major machinery replacement.
“We have asked Oil India Ltd and ONGCL to meet the entire gas requirement of ASEB’s power plants at Namrup and Lakwa,” Pradhan said. He added that his ministry had also assured the Assam government of providing gas to several other major industries of the state, which included the newly set-up gas cracker plant in Dibrugarh and the existing fertiliser and petrochemical plants in Namrup.