Pradhan dedicates Bengal's first oil and gas reserve to nation

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(Eds: Adds more inputs) Ashoknagar (WB), Dec 20 (PTI) West Bengal found a place in the oil map of India as Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday dedicated an oil and gas producing field in North 24 Parganas district to the nation.

He said production from the petroleum reserve here, about 47 km from Kolkata, has started with extracted oil being sent to Haldia refinery of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

'With the commencement of production from the Ashoknagar oil and gas reserve, West Bengal finds a place in the oil map,' he said after inaugurating the project.

The first proven reserve of oil and gas in the state was discovered in 2018.

The Ashoknagar field, which falls under the Mahanadi- Bengal-Andaman (MBA) basin, has been proved to be commercially viable, he said.

PSU major ONGC had spent Rs 3,381 crore for discovery of the Ashoknagar oilfield, he said, adding that two more wells will be explored by the company under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OLAP).

The minister said crude oil discovered at the Ashoknagar reserve is of high quality.

He said commercial production from the oilfield will increase West Bengal's revenue and create job opportunities in the state.

The petroleum and natural gas minister said this would be the eighth hydrocarbon producing basin of India, and ONGC took 'a step by commencing oil production under the early monetisation plan of the government'.

The Centre had issued guidelines for early monetisation of hydrocarbon discoveries.

The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons had said companies can straight away start commercial production from any oil and gas discovery without undergoing the time- consuming procedure of government approvals for field development plans and other bureaucratic processes.

'The project would be a step towards our commitment to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call for reducing 10 per cent oil import by 2022,' Pradhan said.

He urged the local people to cooperate with the Maharatna PSU for oil and natural gas exploration work and said they would benefit from the project.

ONGC chairman and managing director Shashi Shanker along with other directors of the company were present on the occasion. PTI DC BDC BDC