State-backed Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is planning to invest Rs26bn ($312.42m) in the next few years in greenfield projects and new facilities across the north-east region of India, reported PTI via the Economic Times.

Several new projects have already received IOC board approval and others are in the process of being approved.

To finalise the sites for the greenfield units, IOC is in talks with the local governments in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur.

In an interview, IOC executive director Ganesan Ramesh said: “Northeast is one of the most important regions for Indian Oil and much focus is given here by the top management. We have planned to augment our operations by enhancing refining as well as petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) storage capacities.”

Almost a dozen projects, both greenfield and brownfield, with a total investment of Rs26.12bn are currently being carried out by the company throughout the region, he said.

“We have a major project coming up in the POL segment – a greenfield depot at Sekerkote in Tripura at an investment of Rs6.56bn,” Ramesh added.

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IOC aims to boost the processing capacity of its refineries in Guwahati and Digboi at a cost of Rs4.12bn and Rs7.68bn, respectively.

The board has also approved a project that will cost Rs2.77bn to expand the Betkuchi POL depot in Guwahati.

The North East Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 includes plans for Bongaigaon refinery expansion, and the land-acquisition process is now ongoing, the official said.

The energy company’s board is in the process of approving Rs2.31bn to enhance the depot in Dimapur, Nagaland.

In Umran, Meghalaya and Sihhmui, Mizoram, IOC is finalising the site to set up greenfield POL depots to enhance fuel security.

Additionally, Ramesh said, the company is negotiating with the Manipur Government to install a waggon receipt facility at the Imphal depot.

The PSU [public sector undertaking] major has a few initiatives planned to increase liquified petroleum gas (LPG) bottling infrastructure across all the north-eastern states, he noted.

“A new 30tmpta (thousand metric tonnes per annum) LPG bottling plant is being set up at Umiam, Meghalaya, at an approved cost of Rs755.4m There is another plan for a new 30tmpta bottling plant in Mualkhang, Mizoram, at an estimated cost of Rs1.93bn,” Ramesh said.

Separately, Reuters reported that India has invited French energy company TotalEnergies to bid for oil and gas exploration licences in the country.

The move forms part of India’s efforts to cut its dependence on costly fuel imports.