The central government will aim to make Assam and the North East a petroleum hub of Southeast Asia, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday. The minister announced the government’s plans to invest around Rs 1,30,000 in the sector by 2030, to take oil and gas production in Assam to 9.4 million metric tonnes of oil equivalent by then, and create a 5,000-km pipeline grid across the region, Business Standard reported. The Centre will also work on increasing total refining capacity in current oil refineries in Assam.

The government has discovered 67 small oilfields across the country, of which Assam has 12. “We have divided them into eight clusters and the process for leasing these small oilfields will start from mid July this year,” Pradhan said. Of the Rs 1,30,000 crore investment planned, Rs 80,000 crore will be for Assam.

Pradhan also said, “The central government wants to procure gas from Russia. We are considering probable routes to bring the gas and it can be brought to Agartala through Chittagong port in Bangladesh from where it can be transferred to other parts of the region.” The proposed pipeline will support the plan, he added.