23 October, 2020

Foment In RIGzone

Is ONGC a victim? Should private players be favoured? A rift flares up.

Foment In RIGzone
It was the kind of ugly spat that doesn't exactly cover the Indian petroleum industry with glory. On one side was the director general, Hydrocarbons (DGH), head of a regulatory body that is under the administrative control of the Union ministry of petroleum & natural gas, an individual who doesn't enjoy the kind of independence that his counterparts in the telecom and power sectors do. On the other side was the country's largest (in terms of assets) and the most profitable corporate entity, ONGC.

The issue at stake: the award of oil and gas exploration contracts on the basis of bids placed by local public and private firms as well as foreign ones for various blocks as part of the 'sixth round' of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-VI). Once ONGC emerged as the top contender for over 20 blocks, DGH V.K. Sibal argued that the state-owned corporation should be denied the exploration contracts for 12 deep-water blocks 'purely' on account of its 'unsatisfactory' track record.

He went a step further and recommended the government...


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