ONGC and Oil India must do better in northeast

Vol 21, PW 3 (02 Nov 17) People & Policy

Ravi Capoor, former oil ministry joint secretary but today additional chief secretary (industries and commerce) in Assam and chairman of Assam Gas Company, has openly challenged ONGC and Oil India to raise their game in India's northeast.

Capoor spoke his mind at a CII-organised North East Oil & Gas Conclave in Delhi on October 28, attended by this report. "We need to make our (E&P) programmes more ambitious," Capoor told gathered oil company executives.

"And rev up our plans!" Capoor stressed the Assam state government is ready to support E&P because anything less would result in a lack of gas for the Brahmaputra gas cracker, local power stations and tea plantations. "We'll take care of you but make more ambitious plans," he said.

"We're looking at city gas and CNG but gas availability is a huge problem." Capoor appeared to disagree with statements made earlier in the day by ONGC and Oil India that they are sustaining production levels despite ageing fields. He cited the example of Numaligarh refinery set up in 1991-92 when production was 3m tonnes but the target was to reach 7m tonnes, which never happened.

"Oil and gas is the backbone of Assam's economy," stressed Capoor. "But growth depends on availability." Capoor added that the proposed 750-km Barauni to Numaligarh gas pipeline was vital and that Assam Gas would complete all the necessary route surveys by April 2018.

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