The Numaligarh Refinery (NRL), which was commissioned as per the provisions of the 1985 Assam Accord, would increase its capacity from the existing 3 million metric tonnes (MMT) to 9 MMT, besides bringing 6 MMT crude oil to Assam from Odisha, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday.
Addressing the media here, Sarma said that after NRL brings the crude oil from Paradeep in Odisha through pipeline, it would be refined in Assam and then the oil would be exported to Bangladesh, Myanmar and other Indian states.
He said the crude oil from Paradeep would substantially raise the capacity of the three refineries in Assam – Bongaigaon, Guwahati and NRL.
Earlier, Assam’s crude oil used to be sent to Barauni, but now 6 MMT crude oil would come to the state.
Accompanied by Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog, Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary and Minister for Implementation of Assam Accord Atul Bora, the Chief Minister said that the capacity of NRL would be increased from the existing 3 MMT to 9 MMT by 2024 and the Central government has given the necessary approval for this purpose.
He said the Assam government’s stake in the NRL would be augmented from the existing 12.35 per cent to 26 per cent, for which it would have to invest Rs 2,187 crore.
Set up in eastern Assam’s Duliajan, the NRL was commissioned as per the provisions of the 1985 Assam Accord, signed after six years of Assam agitation launched to eject “illegal immigrants” from the state.
Sarma said that currently the Assam government has been getting Rs 500 crore from the NRL as royalty and after its capacity enhancement, the royalty would be Rs 1,500 crore annually.
“We have to increase our non-tax revenue. Assam can survive on its own earnings for four months. Hence, we have to depend on the share of central taxes, various central sector schemes and royalty from oil and gas.
“We should keep on boosting oil and gas companies for the betterment of the future of Assam. Oil and gas companies are contributing a large amount to Assam’s economy,” the Chief Minister pointed out.
He said that several gas and oil based projects would come up in Assam in the next few years and added that by using bamboo resources, ethanol would be produced in the NRL complex.
The Chief Minister also said that various oil and gas companies, including Oil India Limited, have contributed Rs 12 crore for Covid management in Assam.