Discuss about the discovery of Petroleum in Assam .
Ans :- Discovery of Petroleum in Assam :- The onshore crude oil production in Assam is amounted to almost 4.3 million metric tons at the end of fiscal year 2019 which reduced to about 3.1 million metric tons in 2020 . About 71 percent of the crude oil production in the country was done by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) , which is a state owned enterprise. It is estimated that Assam has about 160 million metric tons of crude oil reserves which is second highest crude oil reserve in India.
The story of oil exploration in India began in the dense jungles and swamps and river-valleys of the Assam . Lt. R. Wilcox, Major A. White, Capt. Francis Jenkins, Capt. P.S. Hanny, W. Griffith, W.Licut Bigge–they all saw at different times petroleum seepages from the banks of river Dihing. Mr. C.A Bruce (1828) and Mr. H.B. Medicott (1865) of the Geological survey of India also saw oil seepages while prospecting for coal in upper Assam.
Barely seven years after Edwin L. Drake drilled the world's first oil well in 1859 at Titusville, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1866, Mr. Goodenough of McKillop, Stewart and Company, Calcutta, drilled a hand-dug well of 102 feet at Nahorpung near Jaipur area (Dibrugarh district) of Upper Assam but failed to establish satisfactory production. In his second attempt on 26 March 1867, oil was struck at merely 118 feet (35.97-m) in Asia's first mechanically drilled well at Makum near Margherita area (Tinsukia district) of Upper Assam.
However, the first well dug at Digboi field in Assam in September 1889 and completed in November 1890 at depth of 662 feet by Assam Railways and Trading Company Limited (AR&T Co. Ltd.) , registered at London, is regarded as the first commercially successful oil discovery (200 gallons per day). To add color to geologic reasoning legend was created that during the construction of a railway line by AR&T, in the year 1867, a herd of logging elephants returned to camp with their feet covered in oil after a night time excursion to find food and water. This led men to trail to the salt lick where seepages were prolific. Looking this, the elated English owner cried out to his men, “Dig boy, dig". Probably the name Digboi itself came from that word.
AR&T subsequently acquired a 77.7 square kilometer petroleum-rights concession in the Makum area of Assam, and by 1893 had drilled 10 wells at Digboi producing 757.08 liters/day. AR&T established Assam Oil Company (AOC) in 1899 with a capital of £310,000 to take over the petroleum interests of AR&T, including the Digboi and Makum concessions and set up a small refinery at Margharita (Upper Assam) with a capacity of 500 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) to refine the Digboi-oil. Thereafter, systematic drilling began in 1891 and two years later in 1901, Asia's first oil refinery was set up in at Digboi , Tinsukia . It is still functional and world's oldest operating refinery.
Conclusion :- Assam is a very important region for the country in terms of Oil and Natural Gas industry . The state is one of the leading producer of onshore crude oil in the country and produces over 24% of total onshore crude oil production in India which is about 12.18% of country’s total crude oil production . Assam has proven oil reserves of about 1.6 billion tonne .