Oil India output drops 50% due to protests in Assam

Siddhartha P Saikia New Delhi | Updated on November 24, 2017

Power shortages in the States as gas supply hampered

In a major set back to public sector company Oil India Ltd, the explorer has been forced to shut down operations at nearly 35 installations in Assam due to protests by local students’ body.

The protests have started since March 1. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has called for 300 hours or around 13 days of work suspension alleging Oil India for hiring 304 unskilled employees through non-transparent process.

“OIL is incurring losses of more than Rs 20 crore every day,” said a senior company official. If the protests continue, Oil India may lose about Rs 300-500 crore.

As a result of this, Oil India’s daily output has been reduced by about 50 per cent. The explorer’s average crude oil production hovers around 9,000 tonnes, which has dropped to 5,000 tonnes on Wednesday. Similarly, it drills about 7 standard cubic metres of gas every day, which has now dropped about 3.5 standard cubic metres of gas.

The worst affected are the tea gardens, power and fertiliser units in the State. Already, there have been power outages across the State. Power plants run NEEPCO are getting just 0.6 scm of gas against the demand of 1.65 scm a day.

The protests staged by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) are over appointment of 304 un-skilled employees with the explorer. The Union has alleged that Oil India’s hiring process was not transparent and needy candidates are not offered jobs.

All offices including administration and production along the oil fields remained shut across Kathaloni, Dekom, Naharkatia, Moran, Jorajan, Barekuria and Bagjanas, as protesters have blocked roads.

The major concern for Oil India is that most of its fields are decades old and shutting down of valves would impact the long-term production.

“There is a huge risk after sudden shut down of wells. We may not get the same production levels again,” said the official.

Oil India has appealed to AASU to remove the blockades and come for discussion. However, the student union is not ready to budge.

Oil India Chairman SK Srivastava has not responded to Business Line query asking steps taken by the company to break the logjam. It is understood that Nripendra Kumar Bharali, Director (Human Resources and Business Development) at Oil India, is expected to arrive in Duliajan shortly to discuss the matter.

Published on March 05, 2014

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