Pradhan, who arrived in Assam on Tuesday on an official tour, visited oilfields and refineries in Assam, including the oilfields in Digboi, Duliajan, Nazira, the Numaligarh refinery and the Guwahati Refinery
Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said the government is preparing a vision document for the hydrocarbon sector in India's northeast region.
The initiative has already been taken to boost investment in the sector in the region, he added.
Pradhan, who arrived in Assam on Tuesday on an official tour, visited oilfields and refineries in Assam, including the oilfields in Digboi, Duliajan, Nazira, the Numaligarh refinery and the Guwahati Refinery.
"Assam has, in fact, laid the foundation of hydrocarbon in the country and till today the 10 percent of the country's total gas and oil production is from Assam," the minister told reporters.
"I have come here to review the overall scenario here so that the government can take up steps to boost the production in hydrocarbon sector in the region," he said.
Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fixed some target for the hydrocarbon sector in the region, Pradhan said: "At present our total import is 77 percent and he wants us to take up steps to reduce this outside dependency to 67 percent by 2022, when the country will celebrate its 75th Independence Day."
"Considering the necessity of the hydrocarbon sector, the government has decided to set up a world class skill development centre to develop the skills relating to hydrocarbon sector," he said.
He also said the ministry had also instituted a high-level panel to prepare the vision document of hydrocarbon sector in the region within next three years.
This is for the first time that a petroleum minister has spent so many days in Assam in last several years, inspecting oil installations.
Pradhan also met various heads of the oil companies, refineries and the state government, including Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
He said that the much-hyped Brahmaputra Crackers and Polymer Limited (BCPL) is likely to be dedicated to the nation this year. "I am going to request the prime minister to come to Assam and dedicate the project to the people of the country."
On the issue of oil royalty, the minister justified Assam's demand for increase in the oil royalties, at par with the royalty given to Gujarat.
"There were problems with the previous government in handling the issues. The Gujarat government had moved the Supreme Court over the issue of royalty and the court asked the oil companies to increase the royalty," he said.
"We are working out on a solution that will benefit Assam," the minister added.