The BJP-led government at the Centre would cut down India’s crude oil import by at least 10 per cent in the next seven years and bring it down to 67% of the country’s total demand, Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, said on Friday.
“Right now we import about 77 per cent of our crude oil requirement. It is a matter of shame that we are importing such a huge quantity of crude oil even after 68 years of Independence. By the time Independence completes 75 years, we want to bring this down to 66 per cent, for which we will of course have to step up our domestic output,” Pradhan said. He was addressing a press conference at the end of his four-day tour of Assam here on Friday.
“This strategy of cutting down our import and increasing our output will begin from Assam. The state, which is currently producing about 4.5 MMT of crude oil per annum, will have to increase output by another two million tons. Likewise, Assam’s natural gas production will also have to increase by two to three MMSCMD,” the minister said.
For this, the ministry would invest in a big way in the hydrocarbon sector in the Northeast, for which a vision document was under preparation, the minister said. “A high-powered committee headed by an additional secretary will submit this vision document in the next three months,” he said.
The crude oil output of Assam, which currently stands at around 4.5 million tons per annum, will be raised to 6.5 million tons, while that of natural gas will go up by two to three MMSCMD from the existing 7 MMSCMD, he informed. For this, the different oil companies working in areas of exploration and production would work in tandem with more investment made by the government, he added.
“Investments are being increased in all areas including exploration, production and pipelines in Assam so that we can also look at exporting petroleum products to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal,” the minister said.
Pradhan also held the former UPA government responsible for depriving both Assam and Gujarat of legitimate rate of royalty on crude oil and announced that the Centre would soon resolve the issue (of Assam) through legal and administrative processes.