Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) is all set to venture into upstream business of exploration and production.

The decision was taken following the nod from Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to acquire participatory interest in two blocks in Assam.

In a statement on its official website, the NRL said the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has accorded its formal approval to it for acquiring participatory interest in two exploration blocks in Assam – Namrup block in Dibrugarh district and West Mechaki block in Tinsukia district.

Namrup block covers an area of 125 sqkm and West Mechaki block covers an area of 489 sqkm.

“The exploration blocks were earlier awarded to Oil India Ltd. (OIL)” by the central government on October 1, 2018 “after nationwide bidding under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) Round-I”, it said.

“OIL would be the operator in both the blocks. Farm out agreements for both the blocks were earlier signed with OIL. This would be NRL’s first investment in exploration and production,” it added.

With this development, NRL would have a holistic presence across all sectors of the oil industry – upstream, midstream and downstream.

Informing about the development, the managing director of NRL, SK Barua on his Twitter handle said: “A landmark moment as NRL forays into oil exploration & production.”

“Approval received for participating interest in 2 exploration blocks in Assam where OIL is the operator. This will be NRL’s first investment in upstream oil business,” he added.

Also read: NRL to retain PSU tag, NEEPCO to be handed over to NTPC

It may be mentioned that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in its meeting recently decided to keep the PSU tag of the NRL.

However, Bharat Petroleum Corp Limited’s shareholding of 61.65 per cent in NRL and the management control will be transferred to a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) operating in the oil and gas sector.

The CCEA approved sale of government’s entire 53.29 pc stake along with transfer of management control in the country’s second biggest state owned refiner BPCL.

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