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Assam seeks the link to the national gas networks

State, Industry and Trade Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary

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The Assam government was desperately looking forward to the status linked to the national gas grid to curb the tide over the acute natural gas crisis plaguing the state as on the date State, Trade and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said here on Tuesday. Patowary said the existing oil and gas fields in the state were not producing a sufficient amount of natural gas to feed numerous industries with the list including several hundred tea garden factories, the Namrup fertilizer plants, at least three thermal power plants and the newly established gas cracker plant in Dibrugarh.

“With the production of natural gas in the state dwindling, Assam industry looks like heading for a major crisis in the near future. The state needs to be connected to the national gas network in Barauni in order to maintain a sufficient supply of gas to run the existing gas industry, ”he said. The industry minister spoke on the sidelines of a function where Oil India Ltd. (OIL) signed a memorandum of understanding with the IIT Guwahati for funding two start-up companies for the oil sector, here on Tuesday.

Pointed out that the government of India had already hovered expression of interest (EoI) for laying a 750 km gas pipeline from Barauni to Numaligarh in Assam, however Patowary said the response so far was not very encouraging . The proposed gas pipeline at an estimated cost of over Rs than 3,000 crore would also include the acquisition of land, which also looked like a problem, he said.

Patowary also informed that the Assam government was delighted to have Oil India Ltd come forward to the gas pipeline project given that it had laid down the longest crude oil pipeline (Duliajan-Barauni) east of the Suez Canal in the early 1960s.

Oil India Ltd CMD Utpal Bora, who was present on the occasion however, said Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has the right power supply to run the proposed Barauni-Numaligarh gas pipeline project. "It is a question of the economic viability of the project and GAIL can do that provided the government of India was willing to do it to support the viability gap funding," he said.

In the case of GAIL not taking the proposed gas pipeline project, Oil India Ltd would consider joining hands with Assam Gas Company Ltd, a state-owned power supply to lay the gas pipeline so vital to the industrial growth of Assam and India the northeast of the region, Oil India CMD said.

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