Weeks after making its biggest investment of Rs 2000 crore in oil sector in the state, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has now requested prime minister Narendra Modi to consider transferring all assets of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to Oil India Limited, which is born in the region.
The chief minister wrote to the prime minister on June 5. A copy of the letter was made available on June 23.
Assam and Assam-Arakan Basin in the Northeast together is estimated to have a hydrocarbon deposit of 7,634 million metric tonnes of oil and an equivalent amount of natural gas equivalent which is next to Krishna-Godvari basin.
“It has been felt that the operations in the entire Northeast region may be carried out by one major operator, preferably OIL, as it was born in Assam and had commendable interaction with the local populace,” Sarma wrote.
“With the emphasis of the Government of India on intensive exploration and development of Indian sedimentary basins, a single major operator can carry out exploration and production operations in a seamlessly integrated manner with proper deployment of resources,” Sarma said.
After assuming office, Sarma is betting big on oil sector in Assam. Days after forming the second BJP-led government in the state, Sarma raised the government stakes in the Numaligarh Refinery Limited by investing Rs 2000 crore. The process was duly helped by the Oil India Limited.
The Northeast accounted for 25% of oil and 44% of gas produced onshore in India (2019-20). With more focussed attention, an integrated company could aspire to increase the production from 4.15 million metric tonnes to around 6 MMT of oil and from the current 4.56 billion cubic metres of gas to around 7 BCM by 2024-25.
As both were national oil companies and as the acreages were awarded under the nominated regime, there would be no issues in transferring ONGC’s assets to OIL. This would truly reflect on the Act East Policy, he added.