Digboi: Asia’s oldest oil field
In 1867, a large group of men were engaged in laying railway tracks for the Assam Railway and Trading Co. Ltd. in an area very close to what is now the town of Digboi. They had to work in the dense forest where the only visitors were animals, birds and insects. .
Legend has it that an elephant hauling logs from the forest returned with distinct traces of oil on its feet and trail. The excited owners of the elephant followed its footprints and found seepage of oil bubbling to the surface. ‘Dig, boy, dig!’, probably this is what the Englishman cried out to his men, hence the name Digboi. From that day, this tiny habitat, among the rolling hills of Assam found a place in the map of the world’s petroleum industry. The place is said to have smelt of the rain soaked forest mingled with a heavy odour of something that smelt like oil.
Today, though the production is very low, Digboi still has the distinction of being the world’s oldest continuously producing oilfield. Digboi oilfield is not another oilfield, but an oil museum with a history to be proud of.