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ULFA threat not to impact ONGC's operations

"We are taking all steps to step up our oil production in the northeast, including stepping up investment," the company's director, human resource, AK Baliyan said.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2006 22:02 IST

The latest extortion demand of Rs 5 billion from the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) will not affect the morale of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) workers in Assam, a top official said on Monday.

Over 9,000 ONGC staff working in the Northeast, particularly Assam and Tripura, have become used to working with threats from separatist groups for the last several years, the state-owned company's director, human resource, AK Baliyan said.

"It (the extortion threat) is more of a law and order problem, not an operation issue. We are taking all necessary steps to step up our oil production in the northeast, including stepping up investment," Baliyan said over phone from Dehradun.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm among staff in Assam and Tripura to step up production," he said.

According to official sources, ONGC had received the extortion threat via mail and had handed it over to the state authorities.

Maintaining that operations in Assam were normal, ONGC officials said the company had earmarked investment of Rs33 billion in Assam over the next five years as part of plans to double oil production from Assam.

ONGC produces about 1.6 million tonnes of oil annually in Assam out of its total production of about 26.5 million tonnes within the country.

Assam has over 1.3 billion tonnes of proven crude oil and 156 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves. Of this, an estimated 58 per cent are yet to be explored.

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 21:39 IST