Aussies compete for mega Indian oil revival project: report

TWENTY-SIX companies from around the world, including two from Australia, are reportedly bidding for a $US888 million ($A1.25 billion) oil contract in north-east India.

Indian news reports have quoted a petroleum ministry official, who requested anonymity, as saying companies from Australia, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai are among those that have agreed to bid for the “mega-oil” revival project in Assam.

The two Australian bidders are understood to be engineering contractors, Proteus and Leighton, reported the Hindu Business Line, attributing a statement released by India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

Last week, ONGC announced the $888 million plan, which has been designed to reverse declining oil production from the ageing Assam oil fields.

The Indian Government hopes that by refurbishing equipment at 300 wells, half of which are not producing, output in the next four years will more than double from 1.4 million tonnes per year to 3Mt.

ONGC has earmarked 25 billion Indian rupees ($A790 million) to replace and revamp existing equipment and facilities, in addition to spending 15.84 billion rupees ($A503 million) on drilling advanced wells.

India produces about 30Mt of crude oil annually, with total Assam production accounting for about 20% or 5Mt.

Assam contains over 1.3 billion tonnes of proven crude oil reserves and 156 billion cubic metres of natural gas, of which about 58% is yet to be explored.

Assam is also home to the world’s oldest operating oil refinery, Digboi, established in 1901.

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