Assam state of India is rich in mineral resources. Petroleum or crude oil is the most important of them all. In fact, Assam is the mother of Indian petroleum industry. In India, petroleum was first discovered in Assam. It was Digboi in Assam where the first Oil Refinery in Asia came up. Indian petroleum companies like OIL and ONGC were born out of Assam.
History of Petroleum in Assam:
In 1825, British Lieutenant Wilcox accidentally discovered petroleum in Assam. In 1866 first oil well was dug near Jaypore. In following years several attempts were made to extract oil. But actual oil exploration and extraction started with Digboi Well No-1 in 1889. By 1893, several wells were drilled in Dibgoi area. Together they were producing around 757 liters per day. Digboi refinery was established to refine the crude oil locally. Digboi refinery is still working. The oil production in Assam is got a boost with discovery of more oil fields in Naharkatia and Moran. February, 1959, Oil India Private Limited (OIL) was incorporated to develop the newly discovered oil fields. As the result of continuous exploration activities, oil was later found in many others places of Assam.
Currently there are more than 100 oil fields in Assam. Some major oil fields of Assam: Digboi, Nahorkatiya, Moran, Rudrasagar, Lakwa, Rudrasagar, Sonari, Amguri, Geleki, Dikom, Kathaloni, Baghjan, Charali, Laplingaon, Panidihing, Hugrijan, Tengakhat, Borhola etc.
Till 1960s, Assam was the only oil producing state in India. Gradually India started to extract oil from many other oilfields including the offshore ones. In 2013-14, Assam produced 4709 TMT (thousand metric tonnes) of crude oil. The country’s total crude production for 2013-14 was 37788 TMT. That means Assam’s share of India’s oil production in 2013-14 was 12.46%. Oil India Private Limited (OIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) are the two main players involved in oil exploration and extraction in Assam. There are four oil refineries in Assam – Digboi Refinery, Guwahati Refinery, Bongaigaon Refinery and Numaligarh Refinery.