Richa Mishra

New Delhi, July 9

THE Centre is trying to sort out the political hurdles faced by oil companies in implementing their enhanced production programme in Assam.

According to official sources, ONGC has been facing decline in production levels in that State for the last eight to ten years.

It has also informed the Ministry about the problems it is facing from the local industry.

According to an ONGC official, the company has been facing hurdles in its efforts to invite global bids for high tech drilling operations as the local industry has been obstructing the induction of foreign technology. Artificial lift technology is being used in many ONGC wells as the fields are ageing and these wells cannot produce on their own.

ONGC has 15 fields in Assam producing about 1.5 million tonnes of oil and about 467 MMSCM of gas per day. At its peak the assets produced around 3 million tonnes of oil.

The company has made four discoveries in the last three years. Though initial production in these findings has started, a company official said ONGC has been unable to step up production.

In fact, in May this year production of oil and gas by ONGC in Assam was severely affected due to bandh by the All-Assam Students Union. ONGC is the biggest employer in the State and spends nearly Rs 150.50 lakh annually on various corporate social responsibility initiatives. Further, it is overstaffed, especially in Assam, and is under pressure to induct more people.

The amount of royalty accrued/paid by ONGC to the State Government during 2003-04 was Rs 211.74 crore. Recently, the company has unveiled a plan to revive and rejuvenate its assets in Assam entailing an investment of Rs 2,000 crore over a four-year period beginning this year.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 10, 2005)
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