Output from OIL's Assam fields falls due to refinery shutdown

NEW DELHI: State-run Oil India today said it was forced to cut crude oil production at its fields in Assam after Numaligarh Refinery Ltd shut down plant for upgrade.

Oil India (OIL), which sells close to 2 million tonnes of crude oil annually to Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), had to curtail output following a shutdown at NRL, company Chairman N M Borah told reporters on sidelines of a CII conference here.

Output fell to about 5,000 tonnes a day in April/May from 9,800 tonnes per day normal production.

NRL had from March 16 taken a 60-day shutdown to upgrade units to produce higher quality Euro-III/IV compliant diesel at the refinery. The shutdown, however, got extended and it is now expected that the refinery would be back on full stream later this month.

"I must say that whatever production we lost because of the refinery shutdown, we will be able to make it up during the course of the year," he said. "We are confident of meeting our yearly target."

OIL produced 3.32 per cent more crude at 3.611 million tonnes (MT) in 2009-10 and has set a target of producing 3.7 MT to 3.8 MT crude in the current fiscal.

Gas production was 2415.59 million cubic meters which was around 6 per cent higher than the previous year's.

"We are aiming to double gas production in next 3-4 years," he said.

OIL holds 26 per cent stake in NRL. The 3 million tonnes a year refinery is promoted by Bharat Petroleum Corporation which has 61.65 per cent stake. The Government of Assam has 12.35 per cent stake in the refinery.

Borah said crude oil production in Assam had fallen to 60,000 barrels per day from 75,000 bpd because of NRL shutdown. The current production is 68,000 bpd.