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Digitization - OIL Legacy Documents

Oil India Limited (OIL) is the second largest hydrocarbon exploration and production Indian public sector company with its operational headquarters in Duliajan, Assam, India. The company is a state-owned Navratna under the administrative control of India's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas with its corporate offices in Noida in the New Delhi-NCR region.

OIL is engaged in the business of exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas, transportation of crude oil and production of liquid petroleum gas. The company's history spans the discovery of crude oil in the far east of India at Digboi and Baghjan, Assam in 1889 to its present status as a fully integrated upstream petroleum company.

In the early 1960s the Burmah Oil Company (BOC), later to be designated as Oil India Limited (OIL), undertook the construction of a 1,158km long fully-automated, crude oil transportation pipeline from Nahorkatiya in Upper Assam to Barauni in Bihar, in what at that period of time was the most challenging engineering project for a fledgling, newly independent India.

Commissioned in two phases in 1962 and 1964, this trunk pipeline was designed to carry crude oil from the newly developed Nahorkatiya and Moran oil fields of Upper Assam to public sector refineries located at Guwahati in Lower Assam and Barauni in Bihar. It also fed the vintage Digboi refinery of the Assam Oil Corporation (AOC), which had been commissioned over a century ago on 11th December, 1901.

Given the reality that the pipeline was laid almost six decades back with technology which prevailed during that period, there were not even basic facilities such as computers and laptops, not to mention the sophisticated communication gadgets available today, the construction of the Nahorkatiya-Barauni pipeline had been a titanic endeavour.

For the purposes of preserving the documents, photographs, journals and other legacy documents available since the 1950s, Social Friendly undertook a massive Digitization project for OIL. This was not merely a document scanning and indexing or document archiving project. The available materials ranged from Annual Reports to Journals, from Newspaper Clippings to Photographs, Paintings, Documentary movies and much more. The challenge was not the digitization of documents, but to restore and enhance them to high quality output, so it can be displayed at the OIL museum in the North East. Social Friendly successfully completed the job in entirety in just under two months.

The material delivered by Social Friendly can be seen in an upcoming book about the Legacy of OIL Pipeline of 1960s, authored by Padma Shri Arup Kumar Dutta.

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