Oil India Limited (OIL) officials said the company is ‘very worried’ over the April 2 abduction of a mechanic involved in one of its projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
It may be recalled that 27-year-old Kashyap Barua, an employee of Udipta Energy, a Sibsagar-based company, was involved with his sixty-odd colleagues in Oil India’s flagship Kumchai development project in Arunachal Pradesh, a planned multi-well makeover and development campaign by the hydrocarbon PSU.
He was kidnapped by armed men while travelling in an ambulance on April 2 last.
The Kumchai project falls within Oil India’s 113 sq kms Ningru Petroleum Mining Lease (PML) zone, spread over Changlang and Namsai districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
The lease was secured last year from the Arunachal Pradesh government after OIL’s Petroleum Exploration License, first granted in 1983 by the Centre, expired in 2003.
The PEL has been re-granted now, after a gap of 15 years.
OIL has drilled 14 oil wells within Kumchai area of Ningru lease. However, only one well was producing crude oil, and the rest were shut down due to lack of oil production.
After receiving PML, OIL started work over operations in the old wells. The current production is 130 BOPD, and gas is 0.035 MMSCMD.
“More than a month has passed since Kashyap was kidnapped while he was moving in an ambulance. He has not come back and we are all worried,” said a senior official of Udipta Energy.
Unarmed security guards are used by hydrocarbon companies in this rebel-infested area of Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, where factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) and United Liberation front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) are active.
Udipta Energy & Equipment Pvt Ltd was set up in 2002 by Assamese geologist Sanjib Kakoty and provides ‘a plethora of services to E&P companies’.
The rebel group who kidnapped Barua has demanded Rs three crores for his release, but the identity of the abductors are not clear.
The demand for ransom has been made to the company, which clearly is not in a position to pay up.
But Oil India is concerned because it depends on the likes of Udipta Energy to carry forward the project in Kumchai where output has more than doubled from 176 b/d to 446 b/d since the start of the year.