Guwahati, June 24 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said the ministry is trying to make Assam a hub of petroleum products for Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Unveiling the ministry’s plan to invest Rs 1,30,000 crore in the sector by 2030, Pradhan said: “Out of this amount, Rs 80,000 crore will be in Assam.” The ministry has already prepared a roadmap of investing Rs 6,000 crore in the state in the current financial year, he added.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and state Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary accompanied Pradhan at the press conference.
“Our plan is to make Assam and northeast as a hub of petroleum products so that it can cater to the requirements of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar,” Pradhan said.
“We are planning to make the whole of the northeast region including Assam a hydrocarbon hub. The planned investment includes capacity enhancement of the four refineries in the state including the Digboi refinery, the Guwahati refinery, the Bongaigaon refinery and the Numaligarh refinery,” Pradhan said, adding that the plan is to enhance the refining capacity of the four refineries to 16 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT). The existing capacity of the four refineries is only seven MMT per year.
Pradhan said the central government is also planning to set up 5,000-km grid of crude pipeline, product pipeline, LPG pipeline and natural gas pipeline in the region.
“I have visited Russia recently and the central government wants to procure gas from Russia. We are considering probable routes to bring the gas and it can be brought to Agartala through Chittagong port in Bangladesh from where it can be transferred to other parts of the region,” he said, adding that the proposed plan to set up a grid of 5,000 km of pipeline network will be helpful for this.
The Union minister said the government has discovered 67 small oilfields across the country and Assam has 12 of them. “We have divided them into eight clusters and the process for leasing these small oilfields will start from mid July this year,” he added.