Friday, February 29, 2008

Assam oil -- History and march so far

Assam is the first state in the country where in 1889 oil was struck at Digboi. Assam can boast of having the oldest oil refinery in the country. This refinery set up at Digboi, in Tinsukia district, started commercial production in 1901. The refinery, now belonging to the Assam Division of the Indian Oil Corporation, has a refining capacity of 3 lakh tonnes of petrol, kerosene, diesel and other petroleum products.

The second refinery in Assam was set up at Noonmati in Guwahati under the public sector. It started production in 1962. It produces liquified petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, kerosene, diesel, furnace oil, coke etc.
The third refinery in the region was established at Dhaligoan near Bongaigaon in 1962. It is known as Bongaigaon Refinery and Petro-Chemicals Limited (BRPL).
The fourth refinery in the state was established at Numaligarh of Golaghat district in 1999, with a refining capacity of 3 million tonnes of oil and other products.

Like petroleum, natural gas is a valuable source of power and various other chemical by-products. In Assam, almost all the petroleum producing areas of the Brahmaputra Valley, especially Naharkatia, Moran, Lakuwa and Rudrasagar, contains 'associated natural gas'. The important industries so far built up on the basis of the natural gas of Assam are Namrup Fertilizer Factory, Namrup Thermal Power Project, Production of Carbon Black, Assam Petrochemicals and Assam Gas Company, which provides liquified petroleum gas for domestic use. There are LPG bottling plants at Duliajan, North Guwahati, Silchar etc. The BRPL also uses natural gas as raw material to produce various chemicals.
In November 1866, Mr. Good Enafe of the Calcutta Machinery attempted a manual digging of an oil well in the Naharpung area in Upper Assam. After finding no oil at a depth of 120feet he gave up. In March 1867 the first oil well in the Asian continent to be dug using mechanical means was started in the Makum Namdang area also in Upper Assam. They hit oil at 118 feet and over a tone of crude oil was extracted. In 1889 the Assam Railway & Trading Company began massive oil exploration and production in Digboi. 1893 saw the formation of Assam Oil Syndicate to handle oil production in Assam and a complex sprung up in north of Digboi. This fructified in 1901 with the establishing of the Assam Oil Company that started producing 500 barrels of crude oil per day and established a refinery to refine this crude in Digboi itself. In 1911 the Burma Oil Company came to Assam with the intention of oil exploration and production and soon they discovered massive oil reserves in Surma Valley.
Later the Oil India Ltd. was set up to extract the natural crude oil and natural gas of Assam. The company set up the oil and gas based Namrup Fertilizer plant, a petrochemical plant in the same area and also a power complex using gas for production of electricity. Further in Duliajan a plant was set up to manufacture Liquid Petroleum Gas or LPG and market the same as cooking gas all over India.
Oil well/field Production in million tons Refinery:-
Naharkatia 0.26 million tones
Digboi " 0.75 " "
Noonmati " 1.40 " "
Barauni (Bihar)
Moran 0.60 " " Barauni
two-third of Assam's crude oil is refined outside the state.
The table below gives the official figures on oil reserves in Assam and the projections on production etc.:-
Year (Oil Reserves Annual Production) Projected Production( In million tonnes yield) total depletion (years) of reserves
1971 62.90 MT 3.542 MT 17.7 Years 1989 AD
1981 89.00 MT 4.373 MT 20.4 years 2002 AD
1990 144.95 MT 5.000 MT 29.1 years 2019 AD
Year Production in Lakh tonnes Production in Lakh tonnes Percentage (Assam) (Total Indian Output)
1974---- 37.4 lakh tonnes 74.91 lakh tonnes 49.92 %
1974---- 40.8 " " 111.7 " " 36.52 %
1980---- 10.6 " " 49.0 " " 21.63 %
1981 43.9 " " 48.8 " " 89.95 %
A comparative statement is given below of the average annual revenue which Assam gets in relation to what the central government receives :-
Sl No. Item Indian Govt. Assam Govt. Rupees in crores) (Rupees in crores)
1. Natural Gas 900.00 (Royality) 481.00 2. Excise &custom 913.00 (Sale) 151.00 Duty 3. Public sector oil 655.oo Companies profits 4, Corporate taxes 145.00 & dividends
Total 2623.00 632.00
Thus at any given time the Indian colonial government earns for every tone of Assam's oil, Rs. 2623.00, while Assam earns a measly Rs. 632.00 per tone.
Further we can see from the profits ONGC has gained from exploitation of Assam's oil the extent to which the Indian State machinery is continuing the colonial legacy of the British.
Year Profit (in crores) Production in million tonnes
1991-92--- 403.32 ----
1992-93----788.20 ----
1993-94--- 1271.90 24
1994-95--- 1710.00 29
1995-96--- 2259.00 34
1996-97--- 2674.00 36
Petroleum Industry
Oil discovery in Assam: 1825
Commercial production began: 1899
Assam Oil Company (AOC) formed: 1899
Burmah Oil Company takes over AOC: 1921
Production in 1977: 4.47 million tons
Production in 1980: 1.06 million gallons
Production in 1981: 4.39million gallons

brief background of Assam Oil Company.

Following the discovery of Digboi well No.1, systematic drilling began in 1891 by AR&T Co Ltd. which then represented the final frontiers of technology and enterprise at a time when oil exploration was no more than just a gleam in the eye of most nations. However, the company had the vision to recognise that the oil business was a full time business, which could not be mixed up with timber, coal, railways etc. Therefore, a new company known as Assam Oil Company (AOC) was formed in 1899 with a capital of £ 310,000 to take over " the petroleum interests of the AR&T Co. Ltd."
ACL is rich in history. It was founded in 1839 by a group of independent entrepreneurs and merchants from Britain. This happened subsequent to the abolishment of the monopoly enjoyed by the East India Company (based in India) to export tea to Britain. The company was setup with a mission of becoming a source of supply of tea to Britain, which till then had been importing poor quality tea from China. The strategy was to produce tea in India, which boosted of high quality tea plantation. The British Parliament incorporated the company via a deed and a royal charter was awarded to the company. Subsequently, the company was also granted the pioneering status, ie, exclusive right for the manufacturing of tea, thus making it impossible for other companies or ventures to produce tea for the next 15 years. Thus, with the commencement of tea production, the product found its way into the different parts of the world.
Later in 1840, the company found coal in Assam and in 1881 a company was setup by name Assam Railway and Trading Company (ARTC) to concentrate on business involving timber, railway and coal. The company, while laying down the railways struck oil by accident. The first oil well across the world was drilled in 1859 in Pennsylvania and second at Digboi Assam in 1889 by ARTC of which ACL was the holding company. Assam Oil Company was separately setup in 1889. Subsequently, it was taken over by Burma Oil Company, which was later nationalized to form OIL India Ltd. Historically, the company has been into the business of timber, tea gardens, coal, railways, oil and navigation.

Assam oil Division - A Profile

A remote place in the extreme northeast corner of the country etched out a place for itself in the industrial history of India over a century ago. This little town, Digboi, is the headquarters of the Assam Oil Division of the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and is regarded as the birthplace the country's petroleum industry. It was in this region that the pioneers struck oil in the midst of dense jungles at a time when there was hardly any industrial development in the country.The Digboi Refinery, commissioned in 1901 , is today India's oldest operating refinery and one of the oldest operating refineries in the world. In fact, it was the only refinery in India till the mid 1950's. Earlier owned and operated by the Assam Oil Company ltd. It came into the fold of the Indian Oil Corporation ltd. by an Act of Parliament on 14th.October 1981 and became Assam Oil Division of Indian Oil Ltd.

Post Nationalization, phase-wise modernization of the age old Refinery was taken up and a total transforma -tion of the of the Refinery have taken place over the decade or so.Today, with its vastly modernized operations and facilities, Digboi Refinery is an ISO 9002 - ISO 14001 and DNV OHSMS 1997 accredited refinery manufacturing major petroleum products and a wide range of specialty products. Digboi refinery also meets the requirements of BS 8800.

Sequestered in the idyllic hilly reaches of the Northeast, almost under the shadow of the Burma hills, Digboi is about 520 Kms, to the east of Guwahati on National Highway 38. Digboi Township - strewn with green hillocks and undulating plains - is another world in itself.

Assam Oil Company Ltd. (AOC) was one of the earliest enterprises in the world engaged in exploration and production of oil. Oil was discovered in Digboi in northeastern part of Assam in 1889 by Assam Railway & Trading Company (Originally formed with the object of drilling for oil, later on Assam Oil Company was created to carry out exploration work in Assam and adjoining areas), which established the predecessor company to AOC that was later acquired by Burmah Oil Company Ltd.(BOC), founded 1896, which played a major role in the oil industry in South Asia for about a century through its subsidiaries and in discovery of oil in the middle east though its significant interest in British Petroleum, and also discovered Yenangyaung Oil Field in 1897 and, in 1901, discovered Chauk (Singu) Oil Field, both in Myanmar. Assam Oil Company was taken over by the BOC in 1910, and between 1910 and 1930, the BOC carried out extensive exploration work in Assam and adjoining areas. In 1937, BOC, Royal Dutch/Shell, and Anglo Iranian Oil Co applied for exploration licensee in India and started geophysical survey. Due to World War II, all activities were suspended. Assam Oil is now a division of Indian Oil.

Oil Discovery in India in the state of ASSAM

Soon after Edwin L Drake drilled the world's first oil well in 1859 at Titusville, Pennsylvania, USA, history chronicles another exploratory effort in search of the black liquid gold, across continents.
In the 1860s, sub surface oil exploration activities started in the dense jungles of Assam in north-east India and in March 1867, oil was struck in the well drilled near Makum. This was the first successful mechanically drilled well in Asia.
The first commercial discovery of crude oil in the country was, however, made in 1889 at Digboi when a group of galllant oilmen erected a 20 meter high thatch covered wooden structure at the head of the Brahmaputra valley, in the extreme corner of northeastern India. This modest structure or 'derrick' had little geometric or aesthetic appeal. Nevertheless, it marked the remarkable saga of the quest for petroleum, in Indian shores. The only visitors were the pachyderms, the odd jackal, snakes and many leeches. The environs smelt of the rain - soaked forest mingled with heavy odour of oil seepage all over and thus marked the beginning of the oil industry in India.

History of Digboi

Digboi Oil Town is a census town (A town with a minimum population of 5,000, at least 75% of male working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits; and a density of population of at least 400 persons per sq. km) in Tinsukia district in the state of Assam,India.

It is said that the town gets its name from the phrase "dig-boy-dig," which is what the English told the labourers as they dug for crude oil. The town's history begins in 1867 when a small group of men from the Assam Railway and Trading Co. found their elephants' legs soaked in black mud, that smelt somewhat like oil. The men began exploring more, and in 1889, the English started a small oil installation. India (and Asia) obtained its first refinery in Digboi in the year 1901. Assam Oil Company was formed in 1899 to look after the running of the oil business in this area. The Digboi oil field produced close to 7,000 barrels/day of crude oil at its peak, which was during World War II. The field was pushed to produce the maximum amount of oil with little regard to reservoir management; as a result, production started to drop almost immediately after the war. The current production from the Digboi fields is about 240 barrels/day. Over 1,000 wells have been drilled at Digboi – the first well in 1889 had stuck oil at 178 feet. In 1989, the Department of Posts, India came out with a stamp commemorating 100 years of the Digboi fields.

December 18, 2001
The Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee released here today a commemorative postage stamp on completion of 100 years of Indian Oil’s Digboi Refinery, the first refinery in the country. The postal stamp release was organised to mark the completion of a centenary of refining crude oil in the country which started way back in 1901 at Digboi in Assam. Shri Vajpayee commended the tremendous progress made since then making India self reliant in refining of crude oil in the country. He called for further acceleration of efforts towards earning maximum possible self-reliance in exploration and production of oil and gas as well.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Naik said that India was one of the pioneers in the world to discover and process crude oil with the setting up of first refinery in Asia at Digboi in 1901 where first commercially producing oil well was drilled in 1889. The fervent call "Dig-Boy-Dig" gave the place its name, Digboi. For over 50 years, Digboi was the only refinery operating in the country. The country has come a long way since then with self-sufficiency in refining capacity which stands at 112.5 Million Tonnes today. Referring to several initiatives taken for the benefit of common man and to ensure oil security of the nation, Shri Naik said that "India Hydrocarbon Vision 2025" was formulated giving a definite direction for the industry and the country. The country is now at the threshold of momentous changes in the oil sector with the scheduled dismantling of Administered Pricing Mechanism (APM) from 31st March, 2002.
Digboi Refinery is the India’s first refinery and one of the oldest operating refineries in the world. In fact it was the only refinery in India till mid 1950s. About the Digboi Refinery, it may be recalled that History was made more than a century back in a remote corner of Assam in the midst of dense jungles when a group of Italian Engineers, commissioned by the Assam Railways and Trading Company to build a railway line from Dibrugarh to Margherita accidentally discovered oil. It was here in Digboi that the first commercially viable oil well in India, known locally as well No. 1, was successfully drilled in September 1889 and the first modern refinery in India was built and commissioned in December 1901.
The 500 barrels per day capacity of the refinery was expanded over the years in order to process the increasing crude oil production from the Digboi Oil filed and subsequent discovery of Nahorkatiya fields in 1953. Earlier owned and operated by the Assam Oil Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Burmah Oil Company Limited, Digboi Refinery was vested with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) by an Act of Parliament on 14th October 1981. Digboi, is now the headquarters of the Assam Oil Division of the IOCL also.
Digboi Refinery was rebuilt in 1923 and most of the units were of 1930 vintage till it came into the fold of IOCL in 1981. Since then, large scale investments have been made by IOCL in the refinery. A modern crude oil distillation unit along with associated utilities and offsite facilities was commissioned in 1996. Subsequently, a Catalytic Reformer Unit, a New Delayed Coking Unit and a Wax Hydrofinishing Unit were commissioned between 1997 and 2001 and the refinery capacity was also enhanced. A state-of-the-art Vacuum Residue Short Path Distillation Unit for producing improved quality Bitumen and feedstock for high melting point Microcrystalline Wax was commissioned in April 2001. With two more major ongoing projects viz. Solvent Dewaxing Unit and Kerosene/Diesel Hydrotreater, Digboi Refinery will soon complete its transition to a state-of-the-art refinery.
With assimilation of technology and development of infrastructure, Digboi Refinery is striving to achieve higher standards of excellence in all fields of operation including safety and environment protection. The refinery is already certified for ISO-9002, ISO-14001 and BS-8800. The refinery produces a wide range of petroleum products including wax, bitumen and also a number of speciality products. The paraffin wax produced in the refinery is one of the finest in the world.
Over the past 100 years, petroleum industry of India with Digboi Refinery as its nucleus has been an integral part of our country’s march towards self-reliance.

The authorized and paid up capital of Oil India Limited as on 31st March 2005 are Rs.2500 Million (USD 50 Million) and Rs. 2140 Million ( USD 42.8 Million) respectively with 98.13% holding by the Government of India and 1.87 % by the employees and others. The net worth of the company as on 31st March 2005 is Rs 47110 Million (USD 942.20 Million) Oil India Limited registered an alltime high net profit of Rs. 10610 Million (USD212.2 Million) against a total income of Rs 40970 Million (USD 819.40 Million).
OIL is having over 100,000 Sq. Km. of PEL/ML areas for its exploration & production activities.
Majority of OIL’s activities is being taken up in the North East from where it’s entire crude oil production and majority of gas production is coming
Today, though the crude production is not high, Digboi has the distinction of being the world’s oldest continuously producing oilfield. Digboi refinery, now a division of Indian Oil Corporation, had a capacity of about 0.65 MMTPA as of 2003. The Digboi refinery is the world's oldest oil refinery still in operation.
Digboi is now Headquarter of Assam Oil Division of Indian Oil Corporation Limited. The Earliest recorded to the existence of oil in India is found in the memories and despatches of the Army Officers who penetrated the jungles of Upper Assam since 1825. Lt. R. Wilcox, Major A. White, Capt. Francis Jenkins, Capt. P.S. Hanney -- they all saw at different times petroleum exuding from banks of the Dihing River. Mr. C.A. Bruce (1828) and Mr. H.B. Medicott (1865) of the Geological Survey of India also saw oil while prospecting for coal in Upper Assam.
Mr. Goodenough of McKillop, Stewart & Co. Calcutta was the first in India to start a systematic programme of drilling for oil in November 1886, at Nahorpung about 30 miles south east of Dibgoi, just seven years after the world's first commecial oil well was drilled in 1859, by Col Willam Drake in Pennsylvania, USA. This hand dug well -- the first oil well in India -- was drilled up to 102 feet and proved dry. However the second well struck oil at Makum near Margherita, about 8 miles from Digboi.

Digboi Refinery at Present

The Digboi Refinery modernization project was taken up in large scale in order to overcome the technological obsolescence of the old refinery. Subsequently a number of other major projects were undertaken by Assam Oil Division to further revamp and modernise Digboi Refinery. This includes the Wax Hydro-finishing Unit (WHU) which is now under commissioning, the Solvent Dewaxing/Deoiling Unit (SDU) whose target date of commissioning is November 2002. The Target date of commissioning of the Hydrotreater is May'2002 and the target date of commissioning of the Vacuum Residue Short Path Distillation (VRSD) is October 2002. Digboi refinery has been awarded the ISO-14001 and OHSMC certificate.

Birding Tours in Digboi Oil Fields

The oil producing town of Digboi in eastern Assam, India's first active oil field is now primarily a refining centre. The IOC has recently proposed a nature park surrounding the complex of old derricks and drilling platforms including the lowland forests and pools inside the park. This is the home of some birds like the White-winged Duck. The other birds found here are White-cheeked Partridge, Grey Peacock Pheasant, White-winged Duck, Falcated Duck, Ferruginous Pochard, Bay Woodpecker, Great Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Red-headed Trogon, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Green-billed Malkoha, Asian Barred Owlet, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Green Imperial Pigeon, Grey-headed Lapwing, Besra, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Pied Falconet, Long-tailed Broadbill, Common Green Magpie, Grey Treepie, Collared Treepie, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, Large Woodshrike, Dark-sided Thrush, Black-breasted Thrush, Dusky Thrush, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Daurian Redstart, Black-backed Forktail, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, White-throated Bulbul, Ashy Bulbul, Grey-breasted Prinia, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Grey-bellied Tesia, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Tickell's Leaf Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Blyth's Leaf Warbler, Rufous-faced Warbler, Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush, Puff-throated Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Grey-throated Babbler, Striped Tit-Babbler, White-hooded Babbler, Rufous-throated Fulvetta, Blyth's Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit.

Digboi Centenary (Assam Oil Industry) Museum

As part of the centenary celebrations of the first production oil well in India, the Assam Oil Company (part of Indian Oil) established a museum of the history of the Assam oil industry, behind the refinery at Digboi, which opened in early 2002. There is a fair amount of preserved machinery present, much of it stationary steam. Not illustrated are a number of small simplex and duplex pumps, mostly anonymous but including a couple of examples by Weir. Note that the museum is closed on Monday and nearby is the Digboi War Cemetry, poorly sign posted but as ever a poignant reminder of the futility of war as a means of solving problems

The year 1825. Assam is still not a part of (British) India. The Ahoms—Mongoloid people with their roots in Thailand and rulers of Upper Assam since about 1228—are facing a serious crisis arising out of repeated Burmese incursions. The king is compelled to request the British for help in ousting the invaders. The task is accomplished within months. But Assam passes into the hands of the British with the signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo with the Burmese on February 24, 1826.
Lieutenant R Wilcox of the 46th Regiment Native Infantry, engaged in pushing out the Burmese, is also entrusted, along with a survey party, to lead a military reconnaissance mission in the extreme eastern part of the Brahmaputra Valley. Marching through thick rain forests full of deadly leeches and numerous other wild animals, Wilcox arrives at the upper reaches of the Namchik river, where he suddenly sees “rising to the surface at Supkhong, great bubbles of gas and green petroleum”.
That serendipitous sighting of oil is today in the news with Oil India Limited, an oil and gas company that has gone through corporate twists and turns, preparing to raise funds from the primary market with a public issue.
“We have already filed the Draft Red Herring prospectus with market regulator SEBI for our initial public offering,” says Oil India Chairman and Managing Director M R Pasrija, pointing out that it has already signed an MoU with Hindustan Petroleum, Mittal Investments and GAIL for setting up a 15-MTPA grassroots refinery and petrochemical complex at Visakhapatnam. Oil India will offer 2,64,49,982 equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at a price to be decided through a book-building process.

“Oil India already has 26 per cent stake in the Numaligarh Refinery in Assam, while we also have committed 10 per cent share in the mega gas cracker project that is coming up near Dibrugarh,” Pasrija recalled. With Numaligarh’s product pipeline to Siliguri already commissioned, Oil India is currently on the way to complete a gas pipeline from Naharkatiya to Numaligarh, a joint project with NRL and Assam Gas Company Ltd.

It is a long story from Namchik river to the bourses for what was a distinct Assam “boxwallah” company. Two years after Wilcox saw the oily sheen on the waters, an English trader called Robert Bruce (who had accompanied Maniram Dutta Barua—later Maniram Dewan—in 1823 in having the first cup of Assamese tea as a guest of Beesa Gam, a Singpho chief near present-day Margherita), who, in 1828, wrote about coming across “many oil seepages upstream of Makum for a distance of about five miles.”
Almost 40 years later, in 1865, HB Medlicott of the Geological Survey of India, touring the coalfields of Upper Assam, came across some oil seepages that prompted him to recommend trial boring in the area. “The springs (petroleum) of the Makoom river are by far the most abundant… The locality… exhales olefiant gases… the discharge of gas is so copious and continuous that when lighted, it flames almost without intermission… the abundance of gas suggesting that the reservoir of liquid (if such there by) has not been tapped…” he reported.
In less than a year, one Mr Goodenough of McKillop, Stewart & Co obtained permission and started boring the first well at Nahorpung near Jeypore. It was bored by hand, but was abandoned when it turned out to be dry at 102 ft. On March 26, 1867, he struck oil at 118 ft, thus marking the beginning of the oil hunt in Assam, hardly seven years after Colonel William Drake completed his first well in Pennsylvania, US.
The output of oil in Assam was not something to write home about. Until 1882. It was in that year that the Assam Railway & Trading (ART) Company was floated by Dr John Berry White, who was also the pioneer of medical education in Assam. ART Company applied for a licence in March 1888 to extract petroleum at a place that later came to be known as Digboi.

On October 19, 1889, oil was struck at Digboi at a depth of 178 ft. That historic site stands today proudly as Well No 1 in the heart of Digboi as a museum piece. Also placed at the entrance of the over 100-years-old Digboi refinery is the bottom portion of one of the huge cast iron pans—‘stills’ as they are called—used to treat crude oil in a small refinery—India’s first—that was initially set up at Margherita in 1893.

As activities expanded, the directors of ART Company, which dealt with many things including tea, coal, railways, plywood and brickfields, concluded that profitable development of the oilfields could be best secured only by a separate organisation. Thus, in 1899, the Assam Railways & Trading Company promoted another company, the Assam Oil Company, with its headquarters at Digboi. Lord Ribblesdale, chairman of ART Company, became the first chairman of Assam Oil Company.
The ART Company however did not immediately relinquish its interest in oil and took a large number of shares in the new company, while the Boards of the two companies remained intimately connected. This continued for about 20 years, until January 1921, when ART’s shares were sold and the UK's Burmah Oil Company (BOC) was appointed commercial and technical managers of AOC. Another smaller entity called the Assam Oil Syndicate too was merged with it to bring oil operations under one single umbrella.
Soon after began the construction of India’s first refinery, the Digboi refinery. It was commissioned in 1901 with the 1893 Margherita unit getting merged into it. The refinery initially had a capacity of just 500 barrels a day and produced only kerosene, wax oil for lubrication, fuel oil and greases. While the refinery initially did not proved to be cost-effective with only 380 barrels of crude oil coming in from 100-odd wells in the area, Burmah Oil Company, with proven experience in Burma came in and took it over in 1921.

BOC brought in a lot of much-needed expertise and the refinery was entirely rebuilt in 1923. Between 1931 and 1934 several new units, like the Dubbs Cracking plant, Edeleanu Plant and the first atmospheric and vacuum tube stills and oil heaters and fractionating columns were added to it. The Assam Oil Company, wholly owned by Burmah Oil Company made some major discoveries in Naharkatiya and Moran in 1953 and 1956 respectively.

The enterprise went into a new phase with the birth of Oil India Ltd (OIL) on February 18, 1959, a joint partnership between AOC/BOC and the Government of India. The new rupee company with headquarters at Digboi (shifted to Duliajan in 1962) was registered with an authorised capital of Rs 50 crore. In July 1961, BOC and the Government of India became equal partners in OIL.Twenty years later, on October 14, 1981, OIL became a full-fledged public-sector undertaking.

Almost simultaneously, in 1981, the historic Digboi refinery, along with all marketing assets of Assam Oil Company was vested with the Indian Oil Corporation by an Act of Parliament, while the Digboi oilfield was transferred to Oil India Ltd which itself became a wholly-owned undertaking of the Government of India. But the Digboi refinery along with its original marketing assets continue to enjoy a separate identity known as Assam Oil Division (AOD) within Indian Oil Corporation, with its famous logo of a running one-horned rhinoceros continuing to survive the test of time.

“The human race has come a long way since oil was first struck in the deep jungles of Upper Assam,” says Pasrija, CMD of the present-day avatar of the original company that is continuously engaged in exploration of hydro-carbons. “We haven't just emerged from the story of a small group of adventurous persons manually digging for oil, braving all odds in a strange country, but we have today become a global company, with operations spreading out to as many as six nations of the world,” he says.

“Though we were originally confined to operations only in the Northeast, today we are present all over, from the Mahanadi and Krishna-Godavari basin on the east coast to Kutch, Saurashtra and Mumbai on the west coast. We are also there in Ganga valley (Uttar Pradesh) and Rajasthan, and have as many as 21 blocks at our disposal across the country,” adds Pasrija.

And outside India, Oil India Ltd has its presence in as many as six countries, these being Libya, Gabon, Nigeria, Yemen, Sudan and Iran. “We currently have six blocks in Libya, two in Yemen, and one each in Gabon, Iran and Nigeria apart from working on a pipeline in Sudan,” says Pasrija.

Oil India is a pioneer in laying pipelines, having accomplished the gigantic task of laying south-east Asia's longest pipeline in the late 1950s and early 1960s, covering over 1,400 kms from Duliajan to Barauni. With crossings like the one that spans over the mighty Brahmaputra and 77 other rivers, seven suspended crossings, three road bridges and 38 submerged crossings, it was then the most technically advanced single pipeline of its size anywhere in the world.

But that is not the end of the story. “Oil India is like a government for us, the people living in the districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia,” says Moni Manik Gogoi, who heads a group of young villagers near Naharkatiya that works for uplift of rural areas in collaboration with Oil India Ltd. “We are dependent on Oil India rather than on the state Government for our various needs,” he adds.
Oil India constructed and maintains over 1,000 km of roads in the two Assam districts where its activities are most concentrated. “I think what we have been doing for local people is part of our basic responsibility,” says Pasrija.
On the social side, young men working with Oil India are also considered the best-available grooms in the state. No doubt Oil India, or in popular parlance the tel company, has also become much a part of Assamese lore, finding frequent mention in Bihu songs and lyrics sung at marriages. In fact, several of Bhupen Hazarika’s immortal numbers refer to Duliajan and Digboi and the tel company as standards of employment and of course development.

Times began to change ever since Edwin L Drake drilled the world's first oil well at Titusville, Pennsylvania, in the US in 1859. The news caught the fancy of the colonial entrepreneurs who were then busy harnessing the vast natural resources of the East. Oil was discovered in Digboi in the dense rainforests of Assam by Assam Railways & Trading Company Ltd (AR&T) in 1889.
According to popular lore, an elephant working for AR&T in Assam returned with distinct traces of oil in its trail perhaps because of crude seeping out of the ground. "Dig! Boy! Dig," cried the Englishman to his men. Hence the name "Digboi," says one report.

But oil exploration never proved to be an easy task. Though the oil strike had led to drilling activity in the region beginning 1891, it took another decade till the first E&P company set foot in India.

In 1899, Assam Oil Company (AOC) was formed with £ 310,000 to take over the petroleum interests of AR&T. However, despite its best efforts, AOC could not enhance the production to the desired extent and approached the erstwhile Burmah Oil Company (BOC) of UK — which had already earned its place in history with a series of successful oil strikes in South-East Asia — for technical assistance.
The association — the first such tie-up in the Indian oil sector — led to the takeover of AOC's operations by BOC in 1921.

BOC's entry marked the beginning of the oil exploration and production age in India leading to more discoveries and enhanced oil production.
In 1937, BOC, Royal Dutch Shell and Anglo Iranian Oil Company applied for exploration licence in the country and initiated the first ever geo-physical survey.
The early enterprise, which came to a grinding halt due to World War II and later India's Independence, left behind a rich heritage of oil exploration and the country's first integrated oil company, Assam Oil. The company was also the only one of its kind till the advent of Oil India and ONGC soon after Independence.
Digboi Well No 1 is now the world's oldest continuously producing oilfield. Digboi Refinery, set up in 1901, is still operational. Both are under the control of OIL.
Indian Oil acquired the marketing activity of AOC and has retained the brand `Assam Oil'.

Asia's first refinery was set up at Digboi in present, under Indian rule.
The discoverer of this Digboi oilfield was the Assam Railways & Trading Company Limited (AR&T Co. Ltd.), a registered company of London in 1881,with objectives to explore the rich natural resources of Upper Assam.
The earliest recorded reference of oil in Assam can be traced to Lieut. R Wilcox of the 46th Regiment Native Infantry who saw it as "… rising to the surface at Supkhong with great bubbling of gas and green petroleum…" in "Memoir of a survey of Assam and the Neighboring Countries executed in 1825-6-7-8." Asiatic Researches Vol.XVII, pp. 314 - 467.
Legend has it that an elephant working for the AR&T Co. Ltd. returned with distinct traces of oil on its trail. The excited owners of the elephant tracked its footprints and found seepage of oil bubbling to the surface.
"Dig! Boy! Dig!", cried the Englishman to his men, hence the name "Digboi". Thus this day, a tiny hamlet tucked amidst lush greeneries over rolling hills found a place in the map of the world’s petroleum industry. Albeit very low production, Digboi still retains the distinction of being the world’s oldest continuously producing oilfield.
Following the discovery of Digboi well No.1, systematic drilling began in 1891 DIGBOI Full Image A British couple in the DIGBOI Oil AR&T Co Ltd. which then represented the final frontiers of technology and enterprise at a time when oil exploration was no more than just a gleam in the eye of most nations. However, the company had the vision to recognise that the oil business was a full time business, which could not be mixed up with timber, coal, railways etc. Therefore, a new company known as Assam Oil Company (AOC) was formed in 1899 with a capital of £ 310,000 to take over " the petroleum interests of the AR&T Co. Ltd."

Digboi Refinery-Our Second Century
A century ago just before the World War I, history of another kind was in the making in a remote corner of Assam in the midst of the dense and malaria infested jungles by a band of intrepid pioneers searching for black gold. Italian Engineers, commissioned by the Assam Railways and Trading Company, which has already established Tea Gardens, Coal Mines and Timber Mills in the remote North-Eastern part of Assam, to build a railway line from Dibrugarh to Margherita (headquarters A R T & Co.) accidently discovered oil at Digboi. It was here in Digboi that the first commercially viable well in India, known locally as well No.1, was successfully drilled in September'1889 and first modern refinery in India was built and commissioned in December'1901 to supplant a small "batch-still" refinery in Margherita.
Digboi Refinery at the initial stages
When oil was discovered in remote Digboi there was no habitation in its immediate neighborhood. The jungle was dark and swampy. The forest was so thick and the undergrowth so dense that sunlight could never reach the ground. Once oil was found, the dense jungle made way for the growth of the oil industry in India.
Over the past 100 years, Assam Oil and the petroleum industry of India with Digboi as its nucleus has been very much a part of this existing period. While looking back on the past with respect and to the future with confidence, we portray here how Digboi Refinery was successful in meeting the needs and challenges of the times, and how Digboi Refinery played a role in shaping and developing history over the past 100 years.

Digboi is now Headquarter of Assam Oil Division of Indian Oil Corporation Limited. The Earliest recorded to the existence of oil in India is found in the memories and despatches of the Army Officers who penetrated the jungles of Upper Assam since 1825. Lt. R. Wilcox, Major A. White, Capt. Francis Jenkins, Capt. P.S. Hanney -- they all saw at different times' petroleum exuding from banks of the river Dehing. Mr. C.A. Bruce(1828) and Mr. H.B.Medicott (1865) of the Geological Survey of India also saw oil while perspecting for coal in Upper Assam.

Mr. Goodenough of McKillop, Stewart & Co. Calcutta was the first in India to start a systematic programme of drilling for oil in November'1886, at Nahorpung about 30 miles south east of Dibgoi, just seven years after the World's first commecial oil well was drilled in 1859, by Col Willam Drake in Pennsylvania, USA. This hand dug well-first oil well in India was drilled upto 102 feet and proved dry. However the second well, struck oil at Makum near Margherita, about 8 miles from Digboi.

The Assam Railways & Trading Company while extending the Dibrugarh-Sadiya Railway line upto their coal fields in 1882 came across oil seepage near work sites around present Digboi. Although drilling for oil first began in 1886, by Assam Railways and Trading Company, it was not until 1889 that the first commercially viable well was struck at Digboi. India's petroleum industry thus started taking shape with the commercially successful discovery of oil in Digboi. The Assam Oil Company(AOC was formed in 1889 to take over the oil interest of the Assam Railways & Trading Company and the Assam Oil Syndicate, who had carried out the early drilling in the area.
The Digboi Refinery was commissioned in December'1901 and supplanted the earlier small refinery unit at Margherita. The Digboi refinery, commissioned in December'1901 is today India's oldest operating refinery. Over the 100 years it has undergone a transition from being an age old refinery to one with state-of-the-art technology comparable to any modern refinery.

Digboi Refinery at Present
The Digboi Refinery modernization project was taken up in large scale in order to overcome the technological obsolescence of the old refinery. Subsequently a number of other major projects were undertaken by Assam Oil Division to further revamp and modernise Digboi Refinery. This includes the Wax Hydro-finishing Unit(WHU) which is now under commissioning, the Solvent Dewaxing/ Deoiling Unit(SDU) where the target date of commissioning is November'2002. The Target date of commissioning of Hydrotreater is May'2002 and the target date of commissioning of the Vacuum Residue Short Path Distillation(VRSD) is October'2002. Digboi refinery has been awarded the ISO-14001 and OHSMC certificate.

With development in technology and infrastructure, Assam Oil Division is moving towards attaining higher standards of excellence. With a name that has existed for over 100 years, ready to meet the challanges of the future with its greatest resource - a committed and talented workforce. Assam Oil Division has always upheld its commitment towards the community at large, as a good corporate citizen. It has been carrying out various developmental activities in the region. In its journey forward it belives in carrying along with it, the community with which it co-exists.
Today with its modern technology and facilities, Digboi Refinery produces major petroleum products like fuels, wax, bitumen and range of specialty products. This hundred year old Digboi refinery can very well be said a technical marvel of the past and present.


Guwahati Refinery : Indian Oil Corporation Limited
Guwahati, Assam



Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. is one of the Nine gems among Indian Public Sector Units and only Indian Company to have secured a place in the Hallowed rolls of the “Fortune 500’s corporations of the world”. Ever since its inception, India Oil, besides providing fuel to the country’s progress, has also maintained pace with the most state-of-the-art developments worldwide.
Indian Oil has seven operating refineries at Guwahati, Barauni, Haldia, Mathura, Koyali, Digboi and Panipat. Yet another refinery is being set up on the East Coast at Paradip.
Guwahati Refinery, the Gangotri of Indian Oil Refineries, is the first refinery commissioned in the 60’s. The refinery is designed to process crude tapped from the nearby wells in Assam. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru dedicated the refinery to the nation on 1st of January 1962.
Guwahati Refinery is amongst those Indian Refineries who have been rewarded with ISO-9001 certification of International Quality Standards as well as ISO-14001, for Environment Management System and Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OSHMS) which is also a stringent International Standard which very few Indian Companies have achieved till date. Guwahati Refinery has been certified with International Safety Rating System (ISRS) level-6 certification by M/s DNV. These achievements show the deep commitment of Guwahati Refinery to Quality, Safety and Environmental Management System.
Guwahati Refinery since its inception has been in the forefront of productivity, quality, safety, environment protection, occupational health and a strong commitment to customer satisfaction.
Guwahati Refinery came into operation in the year 1962 with an installed capacity to process 0.75 MTPA of Assam Crude. After debottlenecking the operating process units, the total refining capacity was subsequently enhanced in first stage to 0.85 MMTPA and now to 1.0 MMTPA The Refinery has an elaborate pollution control system to ensure that water generated are adequately treated prior to discharge into the river Brahmaputra. More than 50 % of the treated effluent water is now reused in the refinery.
Wide Range of Products: With capacity of 1.0 MMTPA, Guwahati Refinery processes crude oil received from the upper Assam oil fields and caters to the requirement of the petroleum products of north-eastern region.
Its product slate includes LPG, Motor Spirit (MS), Kerosene, High Speed Diesel (HSD), Light Diesel Oil (LDO), Straight Run Naphtha (SRN), Raw Petroleum Coke (RPC), and a special cut naphtha (RN) which is used as a feed stock for CRU of Digboi Refinery of
Assam Oil Division. Keeping pace with changes in Industrial Environment, Guwahati Refinery is diversifying to produce speciality products like Premium MS & Needle coke etc. for gearing up the cleaner fuel requirements of the country in coming years.
Guwahati Refinery is the first refinery in India to produce Needle Coke.


Energy conservation being a key element for achieving performance excellence, the Refinery has been going full stream ahead by modernising plant and equipment. Schemes like heat exchanger train optimisation, installation & commissioning of high efficiency boiler and DM Water plant have contributed significantly towards energy conservation. The yield and energy optimisation projects of Crude Distillation and Delayed Coker Units has been implemented at an approved cost of Rs. 50 crores. Improvement in operational practices, continuous energy audits and periodic oil conservation awareness drives have paid rich dividends and curtailed energy consumption.
Towards Modernisation: In its long march of three and a half decades, the Refinery has progressively added new facilities for modernisation and to meet the multifarious challenges such as technological changes, increased product demand, energy conservation and stringent safety and pollution control standards.
LPG Recovery Unit (LRU) was added to the Delayed Coker Unit (DCU) in 1994. Additional LPG production of about 10 TMT/Yr. from this unit has provided great respite to the LPG consumers of this region. The Refinery took a big leap towards plant automation by commissioning Distributed Digital Control System (DDCS) in all its process units in October, ’96. Off late Advance process control system has been pit in place for Crude Distillation and Delayed Coking Unit.
The new projects that have been commissioned are as follow:

1. N2 plant in Nov’01 and ISOSIVE in Jan’02 for production of MS components.

2. H2 unit in Oct’02 and HDT in Nov’02 to improve quality of diesel in line with BS-II specification.

3. Indmax in June’03 for maximization of LPG & MS from bottom of barrels.

Apart from upgrading Refinery product pattern, ATU and SRU were commissioned during July’02 and Dec’02 respectively as a measure towards environment protection.


The Refinery has won laurels for its efforts in energy conservation. The prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Centenary Award for the best improvement in energy conservation amongst all refineries in India was won for the year 1993-94.
In addition, Guwahati Refinery was accorded MOP&NG Award of Best Performance in Steam Leak for the year 1997 and OCF award (first position) in 2003 for achieving minimum steam loss as observed during joint Oil conservation survey carried out by CHT team.

The Refinery’s concern for Environmental Protection is demonstrated by full compliance of MINAS (Minimal National Standard) specifications with respect to quality and quantity of its treated effluents. A modern Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), full fledged Pollution Control Laboratory and the strategy for maximising reuse of treated effluent in the refinery ensure adherence to such exacting standards. The balanced treated effluent is finally discharged into river Brahmaputra, downstream of Guwahati City at Saraighat through a 26 KM long underground pipeline. The emissions from the Refinery as well as ambient air quality in the Refinery fully comply with the notified standards.
Extensive tree plantations and development of Ecological Park, Environment Park and Sanjeevini Udyan in and around the Refinery spearhead Refinery’s efforts to the cause of
ecological balance. Periodic campaigns are carried out in the neighborhood to bring home the importance of a clean environment.
In addition to the routine monitoring of environmental parameters, regulatory bodies also monitor the environmental performance periodically. Besides, a comprehensive EIS study was carried out for the new projects. The study revealed that there will not be adverse impact on the environment due to the projects.
Safety is accorded the highest priority at all times. Refinery has a well equipped Modern fire station with elaborate fire protection facilities covering the entire Refinery. Gas Detection System and automatic water sprinkler are also provided in critical areas like LPG facilities. Extensive Awareness Programmes, Safety Audits, Mock Drills on Emergency Preparedness Plans are carried out to ensure safety and alertness.
Refinery has an excellent record of safety and has won many National and International Awards.

􀂾British Safety Council Award Two Times

􀂾National Safety Award Winner- 9 Times
Runner- 18 Times

􀂾Oil Industry Safety Award Once

􀂾Oagle Trophy for Safety 7 Times

􀂾Shreshtha Suraksha Award from Once
National Safety Council
External Awards.
To promote a strong safety culture within GR numbers of Safety Awards/Schemes are in place-

• Housekeeping trophy

• Best Slogan Award

• Contractors Safety Award Scheme.




This is the third Refinery in Assam established on February 20, 1974 named BRPL. The foundation stone of this one million tonne capacity Refinery-cum-Petro Chemical Complex at Dhaligaon , 5 kms. from Bongaigaon was laid by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India.The public sector undertaking completed in about four years times at total cost of over Rs. 96 crores, is the biggest industrial project in Bongaigaon district.This heavy industry complex in an industrially backward district like Bongaigaon is expected to usher in an era of industrial prosperity.

1.Location and area covered

The plants of BRPL are located by the side of National Highway No. 31C under the Dhaligaon P.S., Bongaigaon, Assam.The area covered by the plants of BRPL is approximately 3200 bighas.

2.Functional Capacity

The annual Crude Oil processing capacity of the Refinery & Production capacity of different Petrochemical plants are :
i) Refinery : 2.35 million tonnes Crude Oil Processing.
ii) Petrochemicals:
Xylenes : 29,000 tonnes of Para-Xylene production.
DMT : 45,000 tonnes of DMT production.
PSF : 30,000 tonnes of PSF production.

3.Capital Involved :The gross & net fixed assets of the company as of 31.03.2000 are as follows:
Gross Assets : Rs. 742 Crores Net
Assets : Rs. 341 Crores
4.Number of manpower utilized 1846 as of 31.3.2000
5.Annual Production The Crude oil processing & production of major Petrochemical products from different plants in the year 1999-2000 are as follows:
Refinery : 1.9 milion tonnes Crude oil processed
Xylenses : 17,268 tonnes of Para-Xylene produced
DMT : 24,960 tonnes of DMT produced
PSF : 19,531 tonnes of PSF produced
6.Variety of Products The major products from different plants are :
From Refinery :
Liquified Petroleum Gas(LPG), Naphtha, Aviation Turbine Fuel(ATF), Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO), High Speed Diesel (HSD), Light Diesel Oil (LDO), Low Sulphur Heavy Stock(LSHS), Raw Petroleum Coke(RPC), Calcined Petroleum Coke(CPC).
From Xylenes :
Para-Xylene, Ortho-Xylene, Mixed-Xylene, Various Solvents like Ceenine, Ceeseven, etc.
From DMT : DMT
From PSF : Annealed Fibre, Related Fibre, Tow & Tops, Methanol
8.Required Raw Materials :

The raw materials for different plants are :
For Refinery :
1. Indigenous Crude Oil from Assam fields
2. Imported Crude Oil
For Refinery :
1. Indigenous Crude Oil from Assam fields
2. Imported Crude Oil
For Xylenes :
1. Special Cut Naphtha from own Refinery
For DMT :
1. DMT from own plant.
2. Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) (Purchased)


Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL)


Nestling in the sylvan environs of the Brahmaputra valley where the beautiful rendezvous of water and land throws up myriad colours, Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), which was set up at Numaligarh in the district of Golaghat (Assam) in accordance with the provisions made in the historic Assam Accord signed on 15th August 1985, has been conceived as a vehicle for speedy industrial and economic development of the region.

The 3 MMTPA Numaligarh Refinery Limited was dedicated to the nation by the erstwhile Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri A. B. Vajpayee on 9th July, 1999. NRL has been able to display creditable performance since commencement of commercial production in October, 2000. With its concern, commitment and contribution to socio-economic development of the state combined with a track record of continuous growth, NRL has been conferred the status of Mini Ratna PSU.

The present authorized capital of the company is Rs. 1000 crores and paid up capital is Rs. 735.63 crores. The shareholding pattern as on 31-03-2006 is given below :

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited

Govt. of Assam

Oil India Limited


Product Range : Our product range includes LPG, Naphtha, Motor Spirit ( MS), Aviation Turbine Fuel ( ATF)Superior Kerosene Oil ( SKO)High Speed Diesel (HSD), Raw Petroleum Coke ( RPC ) Calcined Petroleum Coke ( CPC) & Sulphur.

Retail Segment : Strategic decision was taken to enter into the Retail Distribution segment. Permission was received from Govt. of India to market MS & HSD through a chain of 510 Retail Outlets in a phased manner. Hitherto, scores of retail outlets, aptly christened 'Energy Stations' have already been commissioned in the North East and other parts of India and the process continues.

Commitment to the community : NRL is conscious of the fact that the ongoing process of economic reforms is irreversible and the challenge of change on all facets of business and environment is inevitable. So is the fact that the real purpose of business is human well being. This dictum remains the driving force of all our social commitments. In keeping with this ideology, the company has both spawned and sponsored a succession of social initiatives which entail such diverse activities as providing relief to upgrading skill and productivity of the beneficiaries


Proposal for a Refinery included in "Assam Accord" as a part of Government of India's offered economic package :: August 15, 1985

IBP Co. Limited appointed as implementing agency
(Equity Structure IBP : 51%, GOA: 10%, Public : 39%) :: June 23, 1989

Environmental clearance received :: May 31, 1991

EIL Appointed as Prime Consultant :: August 28, 1992

Foundation stone laid by former Prime Minister Shri P V Narasimha Rao ::July 3, 1992

CCEA( Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs) approval Accorded :: July 15, 1992

Numaligarh Refinery incorporated :: April 22, 1993

BPCL inducted as major promoter BPCL:32%,IBP:19%,GOA:10%,Public:39% :: June 2,1995

Approved Commissioning :: April, 1999

NRL dedicated to the Nation by Prime Minister Shri A. B. Vajpayee :: July 9, 1999

Commencement of Commercial Operations :: October, 2000

NRL becomes subsidiary of BPCL :: March, 2001


About the Indian Petroleum Industry:


1.1 As of July, 2005 there are a total of 18 refineries in the country comprising 17 in the Public Sector, one in the private sector. The company-wise locations and capacity of the refineries as on 1.7.2005 are given below:
S.NO. Name of the company Location of the Refinery Capacity(MMTPA)*
1. Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) Guwahati 1.00
2. IOCL Barauni 6.00
3. IOCL Koyali 13.70
4. IOCL Haldia 6.00
5. IOCL Mathura 8.00
6. IOCL Digboi 0.65
7. IOCL Panipat 6.00
8. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) Mumbai 5.50
9. HPCL Visakhapatnam 7.50
10. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) Mumbai 6.90
11. Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) Manali 9.50
12. CPCL Nagapattnam 1.00
13. Kochi Refineries Ltd. (KRL) Kochi 7.50
14. Bongaigaon Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (BRPL) Bongaigaon 2.35
15. Numaligarh Refinery Ltd.(NRL) Numaligarh 3.00
16. Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) Mangalore 9.69
17. Tatipaka refinery (ONGC) Andhra Pradesh 0.078
18. Reliance Petroleum Ltd. (RPL).Pvt. Sector Jamnagar 33.00
TOTAL 127.37
* Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum
2.1 Guwahati Refinery, IOCL (ASSAM)
Guwahati Refinery, the first in public sector, was set up in collaboration with Rumania at a cost of Rs.17.29 crores and commissioned on 1st January, 1962 with a design capacity of 0.75 MMTPA. The present capacity of this Refinery is 1.00 MMTPA. Hydrotreater Unit for improving the Quality of diesel has been installed and was commissioned in 2002. The refinery has also installed in 2003 Indmax Unit, a novel technology developed by its R&D Centre for upgrading heavy ends LPG, motor spirit and diesel oil.
2.2 Barauni Refinery, IOCL (BIHAR)
Barauni Refinery in Eastern India was built in collaboration with the Soviet Union at a cost of Rs.49.4 crores and went on stream in July, 1964. By November, 1967, the initial capacity of 2 MMTPA was expanded to 3 MMTPA by 1969. The present capacity of this refineries is 6.00 MMTPA. A Catalytic Reformer Unit (CRU) was also added to the refinery in 1997 for production of unleaded motor spirit. Projects are also planned for meeting future fuel quality requirements.
2.3 Koyali Refinery- IOCL (Gujarat)
The Gujarat Refinery was built with Soviet assistance at a cost of Rs.26.00 crores and went on stream in October, 1965. The Refinery had an initial installed capacity of 2 MMTPA and was designed to process crude from Ankleshwar, Kalol and Nawagam oilfields of Oil & Natural Gas Commission in Gujarat. In September, 1967, the capacity of the Refinery was expanded to 3 MMTPA. The capacity of the Refinery was further increased to 4.3 MMTPA through debottlenecking measures and to 7.3 MMTPA in October, 1978 by implementing an expansion project of Rs.56.07 crores. With the implementation of additional processing facilities the Refinery could achieve capacity of 9.5 MMTPA in 1989. The refining capacity was further expanded to 12.5 MMTPA with commissioning of 3.0 MMTPA CDU in September, 1999. The present refining capacity of this refinery is 13.70 MMTPA. In order to meet future fuel quality requirement, MS quality improvement facilities are planned to be installed by 2006.
2.4 Haldia Refinery - IOCL (WEST BENGAL)
The Haldia Refinery for processing 2.5 MMTPA of Middle East crude was commissioned in January, 1975 with two sectors - one for producing fuel products and the other for Lube base stocks. The fuel sector was built with French collaboration and the Lube sector with Romanian collaboration. The refining capacity of the Refinery was increased to 2.75 MMTPA in 1989 through debottlenecking measures. The refining capacity was further expanded to 3.75 MMTPA with the commissioning of new crude distillation unit of 1.0 MMTPA in March, 1997. The present refining capacity of this Refinery is 6.00 MMTPA.
2.5 Mathura Refinery - IOCL (UTTAR PRADESH)
The Mathura Refinery with a capacity of 6.00 MMTPA was set up at a cost of Rs.253.92 crores. The Refinery was commissioned in January, 1982 excluding FCCU and Sulphur Recovery Units which were commissioned in Jan, 1983. The refining capacity of this refinery was expanded to 7.5 MMTPA in 1989 by debottlenecking and revamping. A DHDS Unit was commissioned in 1989 for production of HSD with low sulphur content of 0.25% wt. ( max.). The present refining capacity of this Refinery is 8.00 MMTPA.
2.6 Digboi Refinery (ASSAM)
The Refinery was set up at Digboi in 1901 by Assam Oil Company Limited. The Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. took over the Refinery and marketing management of Assam Oil Company Ltd. with effect from 14.10.1981 and created a separate division. This division has both Refinery and marketing operations. The Refinery at Digboi had an installed capacity 0.50 MMTPA. The refining capacity of the Refinery was increased to 0.65 MMTPA by modernization of Refinery in July, 1996. A new delayed Coking Unit of 1,70,000 TPA capacity was commissioned in 1999. A new Solvent Dewaxing Unit for maximizing production of micro-crystalline wax was installed and commissioned in 2003. The refinery has also installed Hydrotreater to to improve the quality of diesel.
2.7 Panipat Refinery - IOCL (HARYANA)
The refinery was set up in 1998 at Baholi Village in Distt. Panipat, Haryana at an cost of Rs.3868 crores. The refining capacity of this refinery is 6.00 MMTPA. The expansion of refining capacity from 6 MMTPA to 12 MMTPA is in under implementation and is expected to completed by end 2005.
2.8 Mumbai Refinery (HPCL) (MAHARASHTRA)
The Refinery at Mumbai came into stream in 1954 under the ownership of ESSO. In March, 1974, Govt. of India acquired it. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. was formed on 15.7.1974 after the merger of these companies. The capacity of the Mumbai Refinery of HPCL was 3.5 MMTPA which was increased to 5.5 MMTPA during 1986 after implementation of expansion programme.
2.9 Visakh Refinery (HPCL) (ANDHRA PRADESH)
In 1957, Visakh Refinery went on stream under the ownership of M/s Caltex India Ltd. In May, 1978, M/s Caltex Oil Refinery (India) was amalgamated with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. The installed capacity of 1.5 MMTPA was increased to 4.5 MMTPA in 1985 and 7.5 MMTPA in 1999, through an expansion programme.
2.10 Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) (MAHARASHTRA)
The Refinery at Mumbai came into stream in January, 1955 under the ownership of Burmah-Shell Refineries Ltd. Following the Government's acquisition of the Burmah-Shell, ame of the Refinery was changed to Bharat Refineries Limited on 11.2.1976. In August, 1977, the Company was given its permanent name, viz. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. The installed capacity of 5.25 MMTPA was increased to 6 MMTPA in 1985. The present refining capacity of the refinery is 6.9 MMTPA.
2.11.Manali Refinery -Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (CPCL)-Tamil Nadu
Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL), formerly known as Madras Refineries Limited (MRL) was formed as a joint venture in 1965 between the Government of India (GOI), AMOCO and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) having a share holding in the ratio 74%: 13%: 13% respectively. From the grassroots stage CPCL Refinery was set up with an installed capacity of 2.5 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MMTPA) in a record time of 27 months at a cost of Rs. 43 crore without any time or cost over run.

In 1985, AMOCO disinvested in favour of GOI and the shareholding percentage of GOI and NIOC stood revised at 84.62% and 15.38% respectively. Later GOI disinvested 16.92% of the paid up capital in favor of Unit Trust of India, Mutual Funds, Insurance Companies and Banks on 19th May 1992, thereby reducing its holding to 67.7 %. The public issue of CPCL shares at a premium of Rs. 70 (Rs. 90 to FIIs) in 1994 was over subscribed to an extent of 27 times and added a large shareholder base of over 90000.As a part of the restructuring steps taken up by the Government of India, Indian Oil Corporation Limited ( IOCL) acquired equity from GOI in 2000-01 Currently IOC holds 51.88% while NIOC continued its holding at 15.40%. In view of the CPCL become subsidiary of IOCL in 2001. The Manali Refinery has a capacity of 9.5 MMTPA and is one of the most complex refineries in India with Fuel, Lube, Wax and Petrochemical feedstocks production facilities.
2.12 Cauvery Basin Refinery-CPCL (Nagapattinam-Tamil Nadu)
CPCL's second refinery is located at Cauvery Basin at Nagapattinam. The initial unit was set up in Nagapattinam with a capacity of 0.5 MMTPA in 1993 and later on its capacity was enhanced to 1.0 MMTPA.
2.13 Kochi Refineries Limited (KRL) (KERALA)
The Kochi Refineries Ltd. is a public sector undertaking set up in pursuance of a formation agreement dated 27th April, 1963 between Govt. of India, Phillips Petroleum Co. of USA and Duncan Brothers of Calcutta with an authorised capital of Rs.15 crores. Subsequently, the authorised capital was increased to Rs.75 crores and the paid up capital in March, 1989 stood at Rs.68.47 crores after issue of shares on rights basis. During the year, the Phillips Petroleum Company also completed withdrawal of their equity by disinvesting of shares. With this, in March 1989, Government was holding 61.58 percentage of equity shares of the Company. At present authorized capita of KRL is Rs 1150 crore and paid up capital Rs. 138.47 crore. M/s Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited ( BPCL) holds 54.81% of the total shares, the balance of the shares being held by Government of Kerala, Financial Institutions and the Public. The installed capacity of 2.5 MMTPA was increased to 3.3 in September, 1973 and to 4.5 MMTPA in November, 1994. The capacity of the Refinery was further increased to 7.5 MMTPA in December, 95.
2.14 Bongaigaon Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (BRPL) (ASSAM)
On 20th January, 1974, M/s BRPL was incorporated in Assam under the Companies Act, 1956 with an authorised capital of Rs.50 crores. With the objective of installation of the Refinery having a crude processing capacity of 1 MMTPA and a Petrochemicals Complex consisting of Xylene, Di-Methyl Terephthalate (DMT) and Polyester Staple Fibre (PSF) Units. The complex was built and commissioned in phases. The capacity of Crude Distillation Unit was increased to 1.35 MMTPA from April, 1987 by debottlenecking. Now the authorised capital (equity) of the company is Rs.200 crores. The paid-up capital as on date is Rs.199.82 crores. As a part of the restructuring steps taken up by Govt. of India, Indian Oil Corporation Limited acquired Govt's equity in 2000-01. In view of this BRPL became subsididary of IOCL in 2001.The capacity of the Refinery has been increased to 2.35 MMTPA in June, 1995 by installing additional unit.
2.15 Numaligarh Refinery Limited (ASSAM)
Numaligarh Refinery, Popularly known as " Assam Accord Refinery" has been set up a grass -root refinery at Numaligarh in the district of Golaghat ( assam) in fulfilment of the commitment made by Government of India in the historic " Assam Accord" , signed on 15-8-1985 at an approved cost of Rs, 2,724 crore.

Numaligarh Refinery Limited ( NRL) was incorporated on 22-4-1993. Presently Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited holds 51% of the company's equity. The other equity holder are Government of Assam, Oil Industry Development Board and Oil India Limited with equity participation of 10% each. The balance 19% equity is earmarked for a Public Issue. The refining capacity of this refinery is 3.0 MMTPA.
2.16 Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) (KARNATAKA)
Government approved on 11.4.1991 the setting up a 3.0 MMTPA Oil Refinery at Mangalore at an estimated cost of Rs.1160 crores, including foreign exchange component of Rs.300 crores. The project has been implemented by a Joint Venture Company with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mumbai and Indian Rayon and Industrial Limited, Gujarat as Co-promoters. The Refinery was commissioned in March, 1996. MRPL which was a Joint Sector Company become a PSU subsequent on acquisition of its majority shares by ONGC. The capacity of the refinery was assessed at 3.69 MMTPA and has been further expanded to 9.69 MMTPA in September, 1999.
2.17 Tatipaka Refinery- ONGC ( Andhra Pradesh)
A mini refinery of ONGC with capacity of about 0.1 MMTPA with an approved cost of Rs.29.9 crore was commissioned in September, 2001 at Tatipaka in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.
2.18 Reliance Petroleum Limited (RPL) Private Sector JAMNAGAR (GUJARAT)
The Private Sector Refinery (RPL) was commissioned on 14th July, 1999 with an installed capacity of 27 MMTPA at Jamnagar. The present capacity of this refinery is 33.00 MMTPA.
3.1 To meet the growing demand of petroleum products, the refining capacity in the country has been gradually increased over the years by setting up of new refineries in the country as well as by expanding the refining capacity of the existing refineries. The total refining capacity in the country as on 1.7.2005 stands at 127.37 MMTPA.
3.2 The refining capacity, actual crude throughput and capacity utilisation during the last five years are indicated below :
2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
1. Refining Capacity(As on 1st April) 114.59 114.66 116.96 127.37 127.37
2. Actual Crude throughput (MMTPA) 103.1 106.5 10.6 118.7 124.3
3. Capacity Utilisation (%) 91.00 93.00 95.00 99.00 ---

Expansion plans of refining capacities of existing refineries are as under:-
(i) Expansion of Panipat Refinery of IOCL from 6 MMTPA to 12 MMTPA is under implementation at an estimated cost of Rs.4165 crore and is expected to be completed by end of 2005.
(ii) Expansion of Mumbai Refinery of BPCL from 6.9 MMTPA to 12 MMTPA is also under implementation at an estimated cost of Rs.1831 crore. The project is expected to be completed by July, 2005.
(iii) HPCL is expending the refining capacity of Mumbai Refinery from 5,5 MMTPA to 7.9 MMTPA with an estimated cost of Rs. 1152 crore. The project is expected to be completed by December, 2006.
(iv) Expansion of visakh refinery of HPCL from 7.5 MMTPA to 8.33 MMTPA is under implementation at an estimated cost of Rs. 1635 crore. The project is expected to be completed by December-2006.
Following three new refineries has been planned.
Name of Refineries Capacity Expenditure Act./Ant Compl.Date
IOC, Paradip 9 MMTPA 8312 March-2010
BPC, Bina 6 MMT 6354 Sept.-2009
HPC,Bhatinda 9 MMT 9806 Dece.-2006
In a major decision towards deregulation of oil sector and to attract investment in the petroleum product pipelines, in November, 2002, Government had laid down a new Petroleum Product Pipeline Policy for laying pipelines in the country on common carrier principle. Guidelines for laying petroleum product pipelines were notified on 20.11.2002. Supplementary guidelines in this regard have also been notified on 26-10-2004.
Schedule for introducing improved quality fuels as per Auto Fuel Policy.
(i) Euro-III Petrol & Diesel has been introduced from 1-4-2005 in all 11 identifies cities ( Delhi/National Capital Region, Mumbai, kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur & Agra) in line with Auto Fuel Policy.
(ii) BS-II Petrol throughout the country has been introduced w.e.f 1-4-2005 in line with Auto Fuel Policy.
(iii) BS-II Diesel in all states except Rajasthan, West U.P, Utranchal, M.P, Punjab H.P and Jammu & Kashmir has been introduced from 1-4-2005 as per Auto Fuel Policy.
(iv) As per the revised programme BS-II diesel has been introduced in Rajasthan from 1-6-2005 and in West U.P and Uttaranchal from 1-7-2005.
(v) Introduction of BSII Diesel is proposed in a phased manner as per the revised programme as under:
(a) M.P from 1-9-2005
(b) Punjab, H.P and J&K from 1-10-2005

The recoverable reserve of crude oil in India is about 739 million tonne. As per a conservative estimate, India has oil and gas reserve of 7000 million tonne in deep sea area. The total hydrocarbon resource in the country is equivalent to 21 billion tonne of oil. The development of the indigenous oil industry in the country has been a high priority area since the mid-1970`s, largely with the discovery of oil in Bombay High off shore. Rapid strides were made in the crude oil production in the last 50 years-from mere 0.25 million tonnes in 1947 to the present 33.86 million tonnes. India today has the skill and technical know-how in the oil sector, comparable to the best in the world.

The search for oil in India began in 1866 when McKillop Steward Co. drilled a well near Jaypore in Upper Assam and struck oil. This was barely seven years after oil was discovered by Col. Drake in Pennsylvania, USA. In 1882, the Assam Railway and Trading Company acquired rights for exploration of about 30 square miles area. It struck oil, in 1889 at Digboi marking the beginning of oil production in India. In 1893, rights were granted to the Assam Oil Syndicate which erected a small refinery at Margharita to refine the oil produced at Digboi. By 1931, the crude oil production rose to about 250,000 tonne per year and exploration activities spread out all over the Assam-Arakan region.

Oil industry in India is almost entirely in the public sector, but private participation is now increasing. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd. (OIL) are the two national oil companies engaged in exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. These two companies together account for more than 92% of the total crude oil production. Of the total production of 33.862 million tonnes in 1997-98, the share of ONGC was 28.25 million tonne (83%), that of OIL, 3.10 million tonne (9.5%) and private and joint venture companies, 2.51 million tonne(7.5%). About one third of the total crude oil production is from onshore, mainly in Gujarat , Assam and Nagaland. Offshore primarily comes from the Bombay High region.

To attract private sector, New Exploration Licensing Policy ( NELP) was announced in March 1997, with incentives like zero cess liability, rebate on royalty payments and international oil price for discoveries. Offers from Indian and foreign companies for development of discovered oil fields as well as for exploration of oil and gas in various blocks have been invited . So far, Private Sharing Contracts (PSC) have been signed with 22 private companies to accelerate exploration and production of oil, and more contracts are under process. Since 1991, offers under nine rounds of bidding have been invited and several blocks have been assigned for private participation in exploration.

India is also helping other countries in exploration and production of oil. ONGC Videsh Ltd., a public sector company which successfully operated in lran, lraq and Tanzania, is now perusing oil exploration in Vietnam, Kahzakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Egypt, Yemen, Cambodia and Tunisia.

The total refining capacity of the 14 refineries in the country in March 1998 was 61.55 million tonne, compared to just 0.25 million tonne from only one refinery in Digboi in 1947. All these 14 refineries are operated by mega public sector enterprises. Out of these, six refineries are operated by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), a Fortune 500 company. IOC, the leader in aviation fuel business in the country with market share of 68.5%, sold 43.8 million tonne of petroleum products and earned net profit of Rs. 15.74 billion in 1997-98. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has two refineries. Madras Refineries Limited (MRL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Cochin Refineries Ltd (CRL), Bongaigaon Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd (BRPL), Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) and Numaligarh Refineries Ltd (NRL) have one refinery each .

Six new refineries are coming up, mainly in private and joint venture sector. The seventh refinery of IOC in Panipat will be commissioned soon. Two private sector refineries are at advanced stage of implementation in Gujarat.

The refinery capacity in the country will be doubled to 131 million tonne in the next 5 years, as against the estimated demand of 112 million tonne. This means India will have excess refining capacity by 2002. The capacity will further increase to about 170 million tonne as against the estimated demand of 156 million tonne in 2007.

India imported 34.49 million tonne of crude oil valued at Rs. 159 billion and 19.53 million tonne of petroleum products worth Rs. 124.31 billion in 1997-98. The country also exported 2.83 million tonne of petroleum products valued at Rs. 17.32 billion. The net import of crude oil and petroleum products, therefore, was 51.197 million tonne valued at Rs. 265.97 billion.

Today half of the country`s requirement is met by indigenous prodcution. The oil consumption is likely to increase to 112 million tonne in 2002. The production of crude oil which was 10.5 million tonne in 1980-81, increased to 30.16 million tonne in1985-86, 33.02 million tonne in 1990-91 and 35.16 million tonne in1995-96. It declined to 32.9 million tonne in 1996-97, but rose to 33.82 million tonne in 1997-98. Unless, further discoveries are made, the gap between domestic supply and demand may further widen. A number of oil fields are being developed besides making investment climate conducive for private sector participation.

Consumption and Production
(In Million Tonnes)
Year Consumption Production
1994-95 67.4 32.23
1995-96 74.7 35.16
1996-97 79.2 32.90
1997-98 82.8 33.82
Source: Annual Report 1997-98

In 1947, there were only one crude oil pipeline, pumping crude from the Digboi field to the Digboi refinery and a 37-km. long product pipeline from Digboi to Tinsukia, owned and operated by Assam Oil Company. Today there is an extensive network of nearly 14,000 kms. of pipelines to carry gas, crude oil and petroleum products to various parts of the country.

The Government has been controlling the prices of all oil products. In a major policy initiative, it was decided to dismantle Administered Pricing Mechanism (APM) in phases from April 1998. The Retention Pricing Scheme (RPS) for all refineries has been abolished and only five petro-products, Liquified Petroleum Gas, Motor Spirit, Aviation Turbine Fuel, High Speed Diesel and Kerosene have been retained as controlled products. Naphtha has been decontrolled and placed under restricted list for import for power generation. Power plants with less than 2000 MW capacity can freely import it for power generation. The consumer price of High Speed Diesel (HSD) is being fixed on import parity basis upto ex-storage point.

As part of the reforms, the Government have decanalised and allowed free imports of Furnace Oil (except low sulphur heavy stock/low sulphur waxy residue). The imports of crude Oil have also been delicenced under Actual user condition by private and Joint Sector Oil Refineries through notification issued on July 13,1998.

Vast marketing and distribution network has ensured availability of petroleum products throughout the country including remote and inaccessible areas. There are 16,935 retail outlets dispensing petrol, 5538 LPG distributors and diesel and 6382 kerosene outlets in the country. The industry has a tankage of 14 million kilolitres spread all over the country. Petroleum products and LPG are mainly marketed by the three public sector companies – IOC, HPCL and BPCL. Parallel marketing of kerosene and LPG by private parties was permitted in 1993. At present there are 117 parties for kerosene and 18 for LPG.

Natural Gas currently accounts for about 8% of energy consumption in the country. Current demand for natural gas is 89 million cubic meter per day as against domestic availability of about 63 million per day. The total production of Natural Gas in 1997-98 was 24.72 million cubic metre, compared to 22.74 million cubic metre in 1996-97. About one fourth of total Natural Gas production is from onshore.

In 1970-71, LPG availability in India was only 0.18 million tonne covering 0.15 million households. Today in 1997-98, 4.61 million tonnes of LPG is sold to over 33.4 million households. About 4.1 million new customers were enrolled in 1997-98 alone. It is proposed to enrol about 21 million new LPG customers including 5 million new enrolments in rural sector within 5 years. Apart from IOC, HPCL and BPCL, there are a few private parties marketing LPG.

LPG is now being extracted in India at Duliajan (Assam), Bijaipur (M.P.), Hazira and Vaghodia (Gujarat), Uran (Maharashtra) and Nagpattanam (Tamil Nadu). Two new plants being set up at Lakwa in Assam and at Usar in Maharashtra are expected to be commissioned in 1998-99. A LPG extraction plant at Auraiya in U.P is scheduled to be commissioned in June 2000.

Natural Gas, associated with oil production which was flared at the well head in earlier days is now being harnessed and supplied for power generation to

Gas based power plants, as raw-material to fertilizer plants and other industrial units including petrochemical industry. Natural Gas production has risen from `nil` at the time of independence to about 25 billion cubic metres today. It is taken to the consumer through an extensive network of 4100 km gas pipeline system, notable among them is the Hazira-Bijapur-Jagdishpur (HBJ) system of 2660 km (including spur lines), which has been set up and operated by Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) on most modern lines and is comparable to the best in the world. GAIL is the largest company in India for handling post-exploration activities relating to Natural Gas including transmission, processing, distribution and marketing. It handles 59 MMSCM of gas per day. GAIL is also one of the largest LPG producer in the country.

The demand for Natural Gas has been increasing. In order to bridge the gap between the demand and supply, efforts are being made to augment the natural gas availability in the country by importing Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from surplus countries. A number of LNG terminals are being planned to be set up along the west and east coast to facilitate import of the high tech resource. Petronet LNG Ltd, set up jointly by ONGC, GAIL, IOC and BPCL has short listed seven global companies for supply of LNG.

Oil companies aim to provide unleaded petrol throughout the country by 2000.These companies are already supplying unleaded petrol and HSD with reduced sulpher content in many cities. Conservation of petroleum products and control of pollution are also the thrust areas.

Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is a new energy resource. India has rich resource of CBM estimated at 1000 billion tonne, compared to 200 billion tonne reserve of coal and lignite. It is mainly found in Gondwana basin, spread over Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. A new policy has been announced on exploration of this energy source with a number of concessions, to attract foreign and private Indian companies.

Oil exploring Companies:

Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC):
1947 - 1960 During the pre-independence period, the Assam Oil Company in the northeastern and Attock Oil company in northwestern part of the undivided India were the only oil companies producing oil in the country, with minimal exploration input. The major part of Indian sedimentary basins was deemed to be unfit for development of oil and gas resources.

After independence, the national Government realized the importance oil and gas for rapid industrial development and its strategic role in defense. Consequently, while framing the Industrial Policy Statement of 1948, the development of petroleum industry in the country was considered to be of utmost necessity.

Until 1955, private oil companies mainly carried out exploration of hydrocarbon resources of India. In Assam, the Assam Oil Company was producing oil at Digboi (discovered in 1889) and the Oil India Ltd. (a 50% joint venture between Government of India and Burmah Oil Company) was engaged in developing two newly discovered large fields Naharkatiya and Moran in Assam. In West Bengal, the Indo-Stanvac Petroleum project (a joint venture between Government of India and Standard Vacuum Oil Company of USA) was engaged in exploration work. The vast sedimentary tract in other parts of India and adjoining offshore remained largely unexplored.

In 1955, Government of India decided to develop the oil and natural gas resources in the various regions of the country as part of the Public Sector development. With this objective, an Oil and Natural Gas Directorate was set up towards the end of 1955, as a subordinate office under the then Ministry of Natural Resources and Scientific Research. The department was constituted with a nucleus of geoscientists from the Geological survey of India.

A delegation under the leadership of Mr. K D Malviya, the then Minister of Natural Resources, visited several European countries to study the status of oil industry in those countries and to facilitate the training of Indian professionals for exploring potential oil and gas reserves. Foreign experts from USA, West Germany, Romania and erstwhile U.S.S.R visited India and helped the government with their expertise. Finally, the visiting Soviet experts drew up a detailed plan for geological and geophysical surveys and drilling operations to be carried out in the 2nd Five Year Plan (1956-57 to 1960-61).

In April 1956, the Government of India adopted the Industrial Policy Resolution, which placed mineral oil industry among the schedule 'A' industries, the future development of which was to be the sole and exclusive responsibility of the state.

Soon, after the formation of the Oil and Natural Gas Directorate, it became apparent that it would not be possible for the Directorate with its limited financial and administrative powers as subordinate office of the Government, to function efficiently. So in August, 1956, the Directorate was raised to the status of a commission with enhanced powers, although it continued to be under the government. In October 1959, the Commission was converted into a statutory body by an act of the Indian Parliament, which enhanced powers of the commission further. The main functions of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission subject to the provisions of the Act, were "to plan, promote, organize and implement programmes for development of Petroleum Resources and the production and sale of petroleum and petroleum products produced by it, and to perform such other functions as the Central Government may, from time to time, assign to it ". The act further outlined the activities and steps to be taken by ONGC in fulfilling its mandate. 1961 - 1990 Since its inception, ONGC has been instrumental in transforming the country's limited upstream sector into a large viable playing field, with its activities spread throughout India and significantly in overseas territories. In the inland areas, ONGC not only found new resources in Assam but also established new oil province in Cambay basin (Gujarat), while adding new petroliferous areas in the Assam-Arakan Fold Belt and East coast basins (both inland and offshore).
ONGC went offshore in early 70's and discovered a giant oil field in the form of Bombay High, now known as Mumbai High. This discovery, along with subsequent discoveries of huge oil and gas fields in Western offshore changed the oil scenario of the country. Subsequently, over 5 billion tonnes of hydrocarbons, which were present in the country, were discovered. The most important contribution of ONGC, however, is its self-reliance and development of core competence in E&P activities at a globally competitive level.
After 1990 The liberalized economic policy, adopted by the Government of India in July 1991, sought to deregulate and de-license the core sectors (including petroleum sector) with partial disinvestments of government equity in Public Sector Undertakings and other measures. As a consequence thereof, ONGC was re-organized as a limited Company under the Company's Act, 1956 in February 1994.

After the conversion of business of the erstwhile Oil & Natural Gas Commission to that of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited in 1993, the Government disinvested 2 per cent of its shares through competitive bidding. Subsequently, ONGC expanded its equity by another 2 per cent by offering shares to its employees.

During March 1999, ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) - a downstream giant and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) - the only gas marketing company, agreed to have cross holding in each other's stock. This paved the way for long-term strategic alliances both for the domestic and overseas business opportunities in the energy value chain, amongst themselves. Consequent to this the Government sold off 10 per cent of its share holding in ONGC to IOC and 2.5 per cent to GAIL. With this, the Government holding in ONGC came down to 84.11 per cent.

In the year 2002-03, after taking over MRPL from the A V Birla Group, ONGC diversified into the downstream sector. ONGC will soon be entering into the retailing business. ONGC has also entered the global field through its subsidiary, ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL). ONGC has made major investments in Vietnam, Sakhalin and Sudan and earned its first hydrocarbon revenue from its investment in Vietnam.
India was left with only one major producing field--Digboi, Assam--which had been discovered in 1890. Despite extensive surveys throughout Assam, no other fields of any significance had been discovered. Digboi and its local refinery had been of profound strategic significance after the fall of Burma in 1942. It had furnished oil to Allied air bases from which supplies were flown to China. It would take several years for India's new leaders to learn the strategic and economic importance of domestic oil supplies.
During World War II, petroleum supplies were regulated by a committee in London, and prices were set in India by a committee chaired by Burmah-Shell. Wartime rationing continued until 1950, and a shortage of oil products continued to be exacerbated by the limited domestic production and refining facilities. Relations with Burmah-Shell and other foreign companies continued to sour after independence in 1947. They advised India against building its own refinery on the grounds that it could only be run at a financial loss. India's vulnerability to the pressures of the international oil market became clear after 1950, when the Iranian political leader Mussadegh nationalized a huge refinery at Abadan that Burmah-Shell had previously used to supply much of India's needs. Iran was in the sterling area, and when this source was cut off India was forced to use its scarce dollar reserves to buy oil elsewhere.
The foreign companies were then persuaded to build two refineries, but the government remained skeptical about the costs of oil exploration. After the war, the Assam Oil Company, a subsidiary of British-owned Burmah Oil, had resumed exploration with little success. Assam finally achieved a major find at Nakhortiya in 1953, but a row ensued between Burmah and the government. The government refused Burmah any right to refine or market this oil and would only allow the company joint ownership in production. As a result Burmah refused to undertake further exploration. Soon afterward, the government claimed Burmah-Shell and other foreign companies were charging excessive prices for imported oil. A controversy ensued over the companies' refusal to refine imported Soviet oil.
These controversies helped lead to the creation of ONGC. Burmah retained control of Digboi but development in the other Assam fields was taken over by a new company, Oil India Ltd., of which the government owned one-third and Assam Oil held two-thirds. By 1981, the Indian government had acquired 100% of Oil India.
Burmah and Oil India were originally confined to the Assam fields, where ONGC was excluded. After 1956 no new concessions were granted to foreign companies for onshore exploration. ONGC became the principal exploration company in India. A Soviet consultant and several Soviet geophysicists were engaged. At first, exploration and drilling with equipment provided by the Soviet and Romanian governments yielded disappointing results. The Indian financial press criticized ONGC and the government for wasting the taxpayers' money. But this attitude began to change after an important find at Cambay, Gujurat, in 1958. A chain of new finds followed.
Soviet and Romanian experts became enthusiastic about India's potential reserves. They estimated that 42% of the country's land area was composed of oil-yielding sedimentary rock with even more lucrative possibilities offshore. Soviet-supplied exploration and production technology, however, was widely regarded as inferior, and the government looked for other sources of assistance, especially after a 1963 offshore exploration revealed promising structures beneath the Gulf of Cambay.
In 1959, the government had revised legislation to make it easier for foreign companies to undertake exploration work in some areas without the participation of ONGC. However, the government's preference for agreements in which explorers accepted a majority government stake in the crude-producing company was known. The government launched a campaign to persuade foreign companies to undertake exploration.
The French Institute of Petroleum provided some assistance, and some contracts were given to French and Italian firms. Press reports indicated that Shell, Caltex, Gulf, and Esso were interested, but in the end there were no major deals. There were more lucrative fields elsewhere, with fewer government conditions made.
With limited technology and Soviet help, ONGC's progress in developing new wells and in production was slow during the 1960s. The government's inability to attract foreign investment came under frequent criticism. More promising offshore geological structures were found during systematic surveys by the Soviet ship Akademic Arkhangeleisky during the period 1964-1967.
Finally, in 1974, ONGC discovered the major Bombay High offshore field with a strike from the advanced Japanese-built Sagar Samrat drilling platform. The strain on foreign exchange caused by the 1973 Arab oil boycott brought a redoubling of exploration efforts. Further offshore oil and gas was discovered at Godavari and gas off Portonovo and the Andaman islands in 1980.
The importance of ONGC's new gas discoveries was underscored by the government's decision in 1984 to set up the separate Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) to process, market, and distribute all forms of natural gas. After the government acquired the remaining foreign interests of Burmah in the Assam Oil Company in 1981, Oil India Ltd. was given an expanded role as the second public sector undertaking engaged in oil exploration and production. Previously, Oil India had been restricted to eastern areas of the country.
ONGC seeks to help the country achieve self-reliance in oil-related equipment, materials, and services. ONGC has tried to speed up this indigenization by working with a consortium of Indian firms that includes Hindustan Shipyard Ltd., Burn Standard Company Ltd., Confederation of Engineering Industry, and Larsen & Toubro. The company reports that this progress has resulted in the domestic industry supply of over 50% of the oil industry's equipment and materials requirements.
In its early days, ONGC experienced difficulties in obtaining up-to-date petroleum technology. It has assigned a high priority to research and technology, which the company states are now on a level with that used in explorations anywhere in the world. ONGC's research efforts date back to the founding of its Kashava Malaviya Institute of Petroleum Exploration in Dehra dun in 1963. The Malaviya Institute is responsible for applied research in petroleum geology, geophysics, and well logging techniques. ONGC has six other research bodies. ONGC's policy is to run these institutes as profit centers.
Exploration efforts have been expanded to many new areas including Krishna-Godavari, Cauvery, Tripura, Cachar, Dhansiri Valley, and Ravasan. The number of active rigs grew from 41 in 1981 to 144 in 1990. Future plans include the Ganges Valley, Himalayan foothills, Bengal, Kerala, and Konikan. Offshore, the firm's deep water unit has been formed to function as the central agency for planning, programming, and implementing exploration in deep water along India's coasts.
As the government's agency, ONGC has presided over an increasingly liberalized policy of encouraging foreign oil companies to explore offshore and they have responded with increasing interest. In 1987, the Indian government invited foreign oil companies to bid for 27 offshore exploration blocks in the third round of initiatives to encourage foreign investment in India's offshore industry. This effort was made more successful than the previous rounds in which many companies refused to participate because they alleged that the government had reserved the most favorable sites for ONGC and Oil India. Twelve bids for nine blocks covering a total of 121,000 square kilometers were received from seven companies. Chevron, Texaco, Broken Hill Proprietary of Australia, and International Petroleum of Canada eventually signed deals allowing them to put 40% equity in a joint venture or to pull out if seismic data were not promising. In 1990, the government announced plans for a fourth round. Private Indian companies would be allowed to acquire concessions for the first time, but there are no current plans to privatize ONGC itself. In 1989 ONGC signed a joint exploration agreement in the Gulf of Thailand, signed drilling contracts with National Iraqi Oil Company, and raised money in the Tokyo and Swiss bond markets.
In 1981-1982, the ONGC redefined its goals and objectives and prepared a corporate plan spanning 20 years from 1985 to 2005; more recently, this plan has been updated to 2015. The emphasis is on accelerated exploration and production strategies. From 1990 production levels of about 30 million tons of crude oil it envisages by 2015 production of 75 million tons.
Over the 1980s and early 1990s, ONGC has shown steady growth in crude oil and gas production, rig counts, profits, and contributions to India's exchequer. India hopes to achieve self-sufficiency in fuel by the year 2005. As the company most active in the western offshore, India's most important oil and gas area, ONGC is essential to this task.
Additional Details
• State Owned Company
• Incorporated: 1959
• Employees: 47,757
• Sales: Rs82.00 billion (US$4.52 billion)


Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.


The Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. operates as the largest company in India in terms of turnover and is the only Indian company to rank in the Fortune "Global 500" listing. The oil concern is administratively controlled by India's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, a government entity that owns just over 90 percent of the firm. Since 1959, this refining, marketing, and international trading company served the Indian state with the important task of reducing India's dependence on foreign oil and thus conserving valuable foreign exchange. That changed in April 2002, however, when the Indian government deregulated its petroleum industry and ended Indian Oil's monopoly on crude oil imports. The firm owns and operates seven of the 17 refineries in India, controlling nearly 40 percent of the country's refining capacity.
Indian Oil owes its origins to the Indian government's conflicts with foreign-owned oil companies in the period immediately following India's independence in 1947. The leaders of the newly independent state found that much of the country's oil industry was effectively in the hands of a private monopoly led by a combination of British-owned oil companies Burmah and Shell and U.S. companies Standard-Vacuum and Caltex.
An indigenous Indian industry barely existed. During the 1930s, a small number of Indian oil traders had managed to trade outside the international cartel. They imported motor spirit, diesel, and kerosene, mainly from the Soviet Union, at less than world market prices. Supplies were irregular, and they lacked marketing networks that could effectively compete with the multinationals.
Burmah-Shell entered into price wars against these independents, causing protests in the national press, which demanded government-set minimum and maximum prices for kerosene--a basic cooking and lighting requirement for India's people--and motor spirit. No action was taken, but some of the independents managed to survive until World War II, when they were taken over by the colonial government for wartime purposes.
During the war, the supply of petroleum products in India was regulated by a committee in London. Within India, a committee under the chairmanship of the general manager of Burmah-Shell and composed of oil company representatives pooled the supply and worked out a set price. Prices were regulated by the government, and the government coordinated the supply of oil in accordance with defense policy.
The Indian Oil Industry Evolves: Late 1940s-60s
Wartime rationing lasted until 1950, and a shortage of oil products continued until well after independence. The government's 1948 Industrial Policy Resolution declared the oil industry to be an area of the economy that should be reserved for state ownership and control, stipulating that all new units should be government-owned unless specifically authorized. India remained effectively tied to a colonial supply system, however. Oil could only be afforded if imported from a country in the sterling area rather than from countries where it had to be paid for in dollars. In 1949, India asked the oil companies of Britain and the United States to offer advice on a refinery project to make the country more self-sufficient in oil. The joint technical committee advised against the project and said it could only be run at a considerable loss.
The oil companies were prepared to consider building two refineries, but only if these refineries were allowed to sell products at a price ten percent above world parity price. The government refused, but within two years an event in the Persian Gulf caused the companies to change their minds and build the refineries. The companies had lost their huge refinery at Abadan in Iran to Prime Minister Mussadegh's nationalization decree and were unable to supply India's petroleum needs from a sterling-area country. With the severe foreign exchange problems created, the foreign companies feared new Iranian competition within India. Even more important, the government began to discuss setting up a refinery by itself.
Between 1954 and 1957, two refineries were built by Burmah-Shell and Standard-Vacuum at Bombay, and another was built at Vizagapatnam by Caltex. During the same period the companies found themselves in increasing conflict with the government.
The government came into disagreement with Burmah Oil over the Nahorkatiya oil field shortly after its discovery in 1953. It refused Burmah the right to refine or market this oil and insisted on joint ownership in crude production. Burmah then temporarily suspended all exploration activities in India.
Shortly afterward, the government accused the companies of charging excessive prices for importing oil. The companies also refused to refine Soviet oil that the government had secured on very favorable terms. The government was impatient with the companies' reluctance to expand refining capacity or train sufficient Indian personnel. In 1958, the government formed its own refinery company, Indian Refineries Ltd. With Soviet and Romanian assistance, the company was able to build its own refineries at Noonmati, Barauni, and Koyali. Foreign companies were told that they would not be allowed to build any new refineries unless they agreed to a majority shareholding by the Indian government.
In 1959, the Indian Oil Company was founded as a statutory body. At first, its objective was to supply oil products to Indian state enterprise. Then it was made responsible for the sale of the products of state refineries. After a 1961 price war with the foreign companies, it emerged as the nation's major marketing body for the export and import of oil and gas.
Growing Soviet imports led the foreign companies to respond with a price war in August 1961. At this time, Indian Oil had no retail outlets and could sell only to bulk consumers. The oil companies undercut Indian Oil's prices and left it with storage problems. Indian Oil then offered even lower prices. The foreign companies were the ultimate losers because the government was persuaded that a policy of allowing Indian Oil dominance in the market was correct. This policy allowed Indian Oil the market share of the output of all refineries that were partly or wholly owned by the government. Foreign oil companies would only be allowed such market share as equaled their share of refinery capacity.
Indian Oil Corporation: 1964 to the 1990s
In September 1964, Indian Refineries Ltd. and the Indian Oil Company were merged to form the Indian Oil Corporation. The government announced that all future refinery partnerships would be required to sell their products through Indian Oil.
It was widely expected that Indian Oil and India's Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) would eventually be merged into a single state monopoly company. Both companies grew vastly in size and sales volume but, despite close links, they remained separate. ONGC retained control of most of the country's exploration and production capacity. Indian Oil remained responsible for refining and marketing.
During this same decade, India found that rapid industrialization meant a large fuel bill, which was a steady drain on foreign exchange. To meet the crisis, the government prohibited imported petroleum and petroleum product imports by private companies. In effect, Indian Oil was given a monopoly on oil imports.
A policy of state control was reinforced by India's closer economic and political links with the Soviet Union and its isolation from the mainstream of western multinational capitalism. Although India identified its international political stance as non-aligned, the government became increasingly friendly with the Soviet Bloc, because the United States and China were seen as too closely linked to India's major rival, Pakistan. India and the USSR entered into a number of trade deals. One of the most important of these trade pacts allowed Indian Oil to import oil from the USSR and Romania at prices lower than those prevailing in world markets and to pay in local currency, rather than dollars or other convertible currencies.
For a time, no more foreign refineries were allowed. By the mid-1960s, government policy was modified to allow expansions of foreign-owned refinery capacity. The Indian Oil Corporation worked out barter agreements with major oil companies in order to facilitate distribution of refinery products.
In the 1970s, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission of India, with the help of Soviet and other foreign companies, made several important new finds off the west coast of India, but this increased domestic supply was unable to keep up with demand. When international prices rose steeply after the 1973 Arab oil boycott, India's foreign exchange problems mounted. Indian Oil's role as the country's monopoly buyer gave the company an increasingly important role in the economy. While the Soviet Union continued to be an important supplier, Indian Oil also bought Saudi, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, and United Arab Emirate oil. India became the largest single purchaser of crude on the Dubai spot market.
The government decided to nationalize the country's remaining refineries. The Burmah-Shell refinery at Bombay and the Caltex refinery at Vizagapatnam were taken over in 1976. The Burmah-Shell refinery became the main asset of a new state company, Bharat Petroleum Ltd. Caltex Oil Refining (India) Ltd. was amalgamated with another state company, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., in March 1978. Hindustan had become fully Indian-owned on October 1, 1976, when Esso's 26 percent share was bought out. On October 14, 1981, Burmah Oil's remaining interests in the Assam Oil Company were nationalized, and Indian Oil took over its refining and marketing activities. Half of India's 12 refineries belonged to Indian Oil. The other half belonged to other state-owned companies.
By the end of the 1980s, India's oil consumption continued to grow at eight percent per year, and Indian Oil expanded its capacity to about 150 million barrels of crude per annum. In 1989, Indian Oil announced plans to build a new refinery at Pradip and modernize the Digboi refinery, India's oldest. However, the government's Public Investment Board refused to approve a 120,000 barrels-per-day refinery at Daitari in Orissa because it feared future over-capacity.
By the early 1990s, Indian Oil refined, produced, and transported petroleum products throughout India. Indian Oil produced crude oil, base oil, formula products, lubricants, greases, and other petroleum products. It was organized into three divisions. The refineries and pipelines division had six refineries, located at Gwahati, Barauni, Gujarat, Haldia, Mathura, and Digboi. Together, the six represented 45 percent of the country's refining capacity. The division also laid and managed oil pipelines. The marketing division was responsible for storage and distribution and controlled about 60 percent of the total oil industry sales. The Assam Oil division controlled the marketing and distribution activities of the formerly British-owned company.
Indian Oil also established its own research center at Faridabad near New Delhi for testing lubricants and other petroleum products. It developed lubricants under the brand names Servo and Servoprime. The center also designed fuel-efficient equipment.
Changes in the Oil Industry: Late 1990s and Beyond
The oil industry in India changed dramatically throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium. Reform in the downstream hydrocarbon sector--the sector in which Indian Oil was the market leader--began as early in 1991 and continued throughout the decade. In 1997, the government announced that the Administered Pricing Mechanism (APM) would be dismantled by 2002.
To prepare for the increased competition that deregulation would bring, Indian Oil added a seventh refinery to its holdings in 1998 when the Panipat facility was commissioned. The company also looked to strengthen its industry position by forming joint ventures. In 1993, the firm teamed up with Balmer Lawrie & Co. and NYCO SA of France to create Avi-Oil India Ltd., a manufacturer of oil products used by defense and civil aviation firms. One year later, Indo Mobil Ltd. was formed in a 50-50 joint venture with Exxon Mobil. The new company imported and blended Mobil brand lubricants for marketing in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. In addition, Indian Oil was involved in the formation of ten major ventures from 1996 through 2000.
Indian Oil also entered the public arena as the government divested nearly 10 percent of the company. In 2000, Indian Oil and ONGC traded a 10 percent equity stake in each other in a strategic alliance that would better position the two after the APM dismantling, which was scheduled for 2002. According to a 1999 Hindu article, Indian Oil Corporation's strategy at this time was "to become a diversified, integrated global energy corporation." The article went on to claim that "while maintaining its leadership in oil refining, marketing and pipeline transportation, it aims for higher growth through integration and diversification. For this, it is harnessing new business opportunities in petrochemicals, power, lube marketing, exploration and production ... and fuel management in this country and abroad."
In early 2002, Indian Oil acquired IBP, a state-owned petroleum marketing company. The firm also purchased a 26 percent stake in financially troubled Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. In April of that year, Indian Oil's monopoly over crude imports ended as deregulation of the petroleum industry went into effect. As a result, the company faced increased competition from large international firms as well as new domestic entrants to the market. During the first 45 days of deregulation, Indian Oil lost Rs7.25 billion, a signal that the India's largest oil refiner would indeed face challenges as a result of the changes.
Nevertheless, Indian Oil management believed that the deregulation would bring lucrative opportunities to the company and would eventually allow it to become one of the top 100 companies on the Fortune 500--in 2001 the company was ranked 209. With demand for petroleum products in India projected to grow from 148 million metric tons in 2006 to 368 million metric tons by 2025, Indian Oil believed it was well positioned for future growth and prosperity.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is a name that every Indian is familiar with; it is the country’s largest commercial enterprise – the flagship corporate of the nation, ranked 135th on the prestigious Fortune 500 list. The corporation began its operation in 1959 as Indian Oil Company Ltd. The IOC was formed in the year 1964 with the amalgamation of the Indian Refineries Ltd. The Indian Oil Corporation and its subsidiaries account for 47% share in petroleum products market, 40.4% share in refining capacity and 67% downstream sector pipelines capacity in India. The Indian Oil Group of companies owns and operates 10 of India's 19 refineries with a combined refining capacity of 60.2 million metric tons per annum. Indian Oil also operates the largest and the widest network of fuel stations in the country, numbering about 16,600. The Corporation's also maintains cross-country crude oil and product pipeline network spanning about 9,300 km, the largest in the country, to meet the vital energy needs of the consumers in an efficient manner. It supplies Indane cooking gas to over 47.5 million households through a network of 4,990 Indane distributors.
It is a Corporation which has an accumulated refining experience of over a century – Digboi Refinery, in operation since 1901. The Digboi Refinery is the oldest refinery in the world. Indian Oil Corporation is also a company that has been lending its expertise for nearly two decades to various countries in several specialized areas of refining, marketing, transportation, training and R&D to countries like Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Algeria, Nigeria, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Malaysia and Zambia.
Today the Indian Oil Corporation is a dominant player in the Indian Petroleum industry whose interests spreads through out the whole Indian sub-continent. The Corporation is headquartered at New Delhi , the present Chairman being Mr. Sarthak Behuria. The Corporation has also earned a global reputation of being the 20th largest petroleum company in the world and the distinction of being the # 1 petroleum trading company among the National Oil Companies in the Asia Pacific Region. The IOC has annual revenue of about INR 2175.338 Billion or $53.7 Billion USD (March 2007) and employs about 3,216 people (2006). IOC is the Largest Commercial Enterprise with $51 bn Turnover & Product Sales of Nearly 55 Million Tonnes in 2006-07, with an all-India Marketing Network Of 32,500 Sales Points Indane Cooking Gas to Over 46.4 Million Households SERVO Lubes and Greases with 450 Grades . In short, it is a company that is a brand in itself and a name that you could trust.
The IOC being the flagship corporate of the Nation has an impressive presence even in our home state of Manipur; this is truly unique of the company. Truly unique because any other industry player or company with a name to boot always thinks twice before putting their stake in a state like Manipur – with this sort of law and order, instability the only stability, which industrial houses and companies would invest. Simple logic, as simple as ABC!! There are 16 retail outlets of Indian Oil Corporation, along with 7 Indane (LPG Distributor) in Manipur. Quite an impressive presence of a truly global company, considering the many inevitable pitfalls involved in investing in a state of lawlessness – Manipur. A truly remarkable feature of a Corporation (Semi Government) is that profit making is not the sole motive or the driving force. Instead, it is the essential service that it could render to the public at large that is paramount.
The IOC is divided into many divisions per se
1) The Refineries Division
2) Marketing Division
3) Assam Oil Division
4) IBP Division
5) Pipelines Division and

subsidiaries like Bongaigoan Refineries and Petro Chemical limited, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Indian Oil Technologies limited, Indian Oil Mauritius Limited, Indian Oil Middle East FZE, Lanka IOC Private Limmited.

Principal Subsidiaries: Indo Mobil Ltd. (50%); Avi-Oil Ltd. (25%); Indian Oiltanking Ltd. (25%); Petronet India Ltd. (16%); Petronet VK Ltd. (26%); Petronet CTM Ltd. (26%); Petronet CIPL Ltd. (12.5%); IndianOil Petronas Ltd. (50%); IndianOil Panipat Power Consortium Ltd. (26%); IndianOil TCG Petrochem Ltd. (50%); Librizol India Pvt. Ltd. (50%).
Principal Competitors: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.; Hindustand Petroleum Corporation Ltd.; Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies.
• Key Dates:
• 1948: India's government passes the Industrial Policy Resolution, which states that its oil industry should be state-owned and operated.
• 1958: The government forms its own refinery company, Indian Refineries Ltd.
• 1959: Indian Oil Company is founded as a statutory body to supply oil products to Indian state enterprise.
• 1964: Indian Refineries and Indian Oil Company merge to form the Indian Oil Corporation.
• 1976: The Burmah-Shell and the Caltex refineries are nationalized.
• 1981: Half of India's 12 refineries are operated by Indian Oil.
• 1998: The company's seventh refinery is commissioned at Panipat.
• 2002: The Indian petroleum industry is deregulated.
Additional Details
• Public Company
• Incorporated: 1964
• Employees: 32,266
• Sales: Rs 113.32 billion ($24.2 billion) (2001)
• Stock Exchanges: Mumbai
• Ticker Symbol: 530965
• NAIC: 324110 Petroleum Refineries

IndianOil was incorporated on June 30, 1959 under the name and style of Indian Oil Company Ltd. Upon merger with Indian Refineries Ltd. on September 1, 1964, the name of the company was changed to Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

IndianOil has its Registered Office at:
IndianOil Bhavan
G-9, Ali Yavar Jung Marg
Bandra (East)
Mumbai - 400 051, India

Guwahati Refinery, the first public sector refinery of the country, was built with Romanian collaboration and was inagurated by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit JawaharLal Nehru, on 1st January 1962. IndianOil refineries registered a record throughput of 35.3 million tonnes during the financial year@ surpassing the previous best of 33.8 million tonnes in 2001-2002.

IndianOil commissioned India's first product pipeline, the Guwahati - Siliguri pipeline, in 1965. This 435-Km pipeline connecting Guwahati Refinery to different installations was designed to carry about 0.818 MMT of oil per year. As on 1st April 2003 IndianOil operates the country's largest network of 7170 km of crude and product pipeline with a total capacity of 52.75 million metric tonnes per annum#.

From a small begining with a sale of 0.032 million kilolitres, IndianOil achieved sales of 10 million kilolitres with a turnover of Rs. 635 crore* and profit Rs. 22.5 crore by the late 60's. From then on, the company has grown from strength to strength and presently the company sold 46.46 million tonnes of petroleum products in the domestic market during the financial year 2003@.

* Rupees One Crore = US $ 0.21 million (approx) as on 31.3.2003
# One Million Metric Tonne per annum = 20,000 bpd
@ Financial Year = 1st April 2002-31st March 2003


Oil India Ltd (OIL)


Starting with a small lease in the Nahorkatiya main area, Oil India has expanded its operational activities in Upper Assam including the nearby areas of Arunachal Pradesh. Starting with oil Strike Nahorkatiya and Moran fields, continued exploration and development through the years has led to discoveries of a number of oil/gas fields in Assam & Arunachal Pradesh thereby expanding its reserve base. Oil India has so far drilled more than 212 exploratory wells and 797 development wells in the region(as on 01.01.04). The status of reserves of crude oil & gas in Assam & Arunachal Pradesh (excepting, Kharsang field in Arunachal pradesh, which is under Joint Venture Contract) as on 01.04.2003 are as under: -
Oil (MMT) Gas (BSCM)
In-Place Reserves 625.35 224.55
Gross Ultimate Recovery 193.42 152.62
Cumulative Production 120.21 53.81
Balance Recoverable Reserves 73.21 100.75

Oil India has maintained an increasing trend in crude oil production during last ten years. The crude production, which was hovering around 2.50MMT in early Nineties rose to 2.81 MTPA in 1993-94, and crossed the figure of 3.0 MTPA during 1997-98. Since then, crude production is hovering around that figure till 2001-2002. Oil India recorded crude oil Production of 2.95MMT during the year 2002-2003.The gas production and sales during 2002-2003 were 1743.311 MMSCUM and 1237.300 MMSCUM respectively.

As part of exploration and development efforts, a number of activities are underway or planned in Assam and adjoining areas of Arunachal Pradesh.

In Assam, where exploration and development activities are confined to the South Bank of river Brahmaputra, the Company is stepping up its exploratory efforts in the logistically difficult areas like Brahmaputra River bed, Belt of Schuppen, Township areas etc. In adjoining Arunachal Pradesh, efforts are in full swing to step up exploratory efforts in Manabhum and Kumchai area. Overall plans are afoot to:

Continue intensive exploration and development activities in the traditional/matured areas of south bank of river Brahmaputra by way of extensive 3D seismic, drilling and stepping up IOR activities as per recommendations of integrated Basin Modeling study.
Re vitalise the old oil fields MRN, NHK, & ZLN by implementing recommendations of re-vitalisation study carried out by international consultant viz, Drilling of in-fill wells, enhancement of water injection and identification of new prospects etc.
Carry out detailed Review of the identified prospects of South bank by international structural geology experts.
Carry out detailed reservoir engineering studies studies of Paleocene - Lower Eocene fields of the Upper assam Basin.
Intensification of exploration activities viz. geophysical activities (seismic, MT. Gravity etc) in the logistically difficult hilly terrains of Manabhum and Kumchai for generation of hydrocarbon prospects.
Establish the hydrocarbon prospectivity of sub-thrust prospects in Belt of Schuppen area in Assam.
Augment production through various measures including drilling of horizontal wells.
Initiation of seismic exploration activities in Brahmaputra River bed.
Revitalise the greater Jorajan oil field to explore the locked up hydrocarbon potential of Tipam Reservoirs and have a relook for deeper prospects.
Develop the non-associated gas resources of Assam as per technical recommendation of consultants/in-house study.
Introduction of new technology for application in prospect generation and reservoir charcaterisation viz, Scisclass, Material Balance etc.
The Oil Hunt

Soon after Edwin L Drake drilled the world's first oil well in 1859 at Titusville, Pennsylvania, USA, history chronicles another exploratory effort in search of the black liquid gold, across continents.

In the 1860s sub surface oil exploration activities started in the dense jungles of Assam in north-east India and in March 1867, oil was struck in the well drilled near Makum. This was the first successful mechanically drilled well in Asia.

The first commercial discovery of crude oil in the country was, however, made in 1889 at Digboi when a group of galllant oilmen erected a 20 meter high thatch covered wooden structure at the head of the Brahmaputra valley, in the extreme corner of northeastern India. This modest structure or 'derrick' had little geometric or aesthetic appeal. Nevertheless, it marked the remarkable saga of the quest for the fugitive fuel - 'petroleum', in Indian shores. The only visitors were the pachyderms, the odd jackal, snakes and a hundred thousand leeches. The environs smelt of the rain - soaked forest mingled with heavy odour of oil seepage all over and thus marked the beginning of the oil industry in India.

The discoverer of this Digboi oilfield was the Assam Railways & Trading Company Limited (AR&T Co. Ltd.), a registered company of London in 1881,with objectives to explore the rich natural resources of Upper Assam.

The earliest recorded reference of oil in Assam can be traced to Lieut. R Wilcox of the 46th Regiment Native Infantry who saw it as ". rising to the surface at Supkhong with great bubbling of gas and green petroleum." in " Memoir of a survey of Assam and the Neighboring Countries executed in 1825-6-7-8." Asiatic Researches Vol.XVII, pp. 314 - 467.

Legend has it that an elephant working for the AR&T Co. Ltd. returned with distinct traces of oil on its trail. The excited owners of the elephant tracked its footprints and found seepage of oil bubbling to the surface.
" Dig! Boy! Dig! ", cried the Englishman to his men, hence the name "Digboi". Thus this day, a tiny hamlet tucked amidst lush greeneries over rolling hills found a place in the map of the world’s petroleum industry. Albeit very low production, Digboi still retains the distinction of being the world’s oldest continuously producing oilfield.
The Evolution of Oil India Limited

By arrangement with the AR &T Co Ltd., the Burmah Oil Company (BOC) of U.K. who was at that time operating in Burma across the Patkai Hills took over the operation of AOC in 1921. BOC/AOC continued development of Digboi oilfield and intensified exploration activities. In 1953, the first oil discovery of independent India was made at Nahorkatiya near Digboi and then at Moran in 1956. The success at Nahorkatiya was the culmination of a long story of failure, frustration and despair in the oil exploration activities of Upper Assam. It was also the prelude to a string of oil exploration programmes elsewhere in the country.

Oil India Private Ltd. was incorporated on February 18, 1959 for the purpose of development and production of the discovered prospects of Nahorkatiya and
Moran and to increase the pace of exploration in the Northeast India. It was registered as a Rupee Company with two-third shares owned by AOC / BOC and one-third by the Government of India (GOI). By a subsequent agreement on 27th July, 1961, GOI and BOC transformed OIL to a Joint Venture Company (JVC) with equal partnership.
OIL remained a Joint Venture Company for over two decades. The atmosphere of tolerance and adjustment between the partners was such that once our late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi remarked :
"OIL is a fine example of the co-operation between the Public and Private Sectors."

On 14th October 1981 Oil India Limited (OIL) became a wholly owned Government of India enterprise by taking over BOC’s 50% equity and the management of Digboi oilfields changed hands from the erstwhile AOC to OIL. During this span of time, a total of 1001 wells were drilled in the Digboi oilfield in an area of only 13 sq kms with peak production achievement of 900 Kilo Litres per day (KLPD)


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