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14 Apr 2018

In pilgrimage tour, OPEC’s Secretary General visits India’s historic Digboi Refinery, first oil well

Digboi, India, 14 April 2018--OPEC’s Secretary General HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo and an OPEC delegation visited on Friday one of the world’s oldest refineries, Digboi, and oil well No.1 in the remote northeastern corner of the country, which is the birthplace of the oil industry in India’s Assam state.

“A dream fulfilled,” HE Mohammad Barkindo said during a tour to India’s first oil well No. 1 spudded in September 1889 in this remote small greenery town full of life and plantations.

The Secretary General then planted a tree in a site close to the well and the refinery. Members of the OPEC delegation also planted several other trees.

“This (oil) industry has come under unfair criticism accusing it of ‘harming’ the environment. I see here not only preserving this legacy (the first well ever drilled in India) but also preserving the environment. I saw greenery around the well and the refinery,” the Secretary General said. “The oil industry that has fuelled the current civilization is climate friendly,” he added.

Later in the day, HE Barkindo accompanied by senior officials from India’s Oil Corporation Ltd., including Mr. S.M. Vaidya, Executive Director (operations) and Ms. Shukla Mistry, Chief General Manager, toured a refinery museum and listened to detailed explanations on the stages that this refinery went through since its inception.

Digboi Refinery, commissioned on 11 December 1901, is India’s oldest operating refinery and one of the oldest operating refineries in the world. The historic Digboi Refinery has been termed as the "Gangotri of the Indian Hydrocarbon sector.”

Earlier owned and operated by the Assam Oil Company Limited/Burmah Oil Company, it came into the fold of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited by an Act of Parliament on 14 October 1981 and became the Assam Oil Division of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited.