A controversial slick has engulfed ONGC's plans to invest huge sums in sensitive nations such as Sudan, Libya, Myanmar, Iran and Iraq. These countries are either haunted by civil wars or are accused of supporting global terrorist organisations and the Kashmir cause or are hit by stiff US sanctions. But ONGC chairman Subir Raha defends his decisions saying it is crucial for the country's oil security and that the risks have been taken into account. Excerpts from an interview with Alam Srinivas:
What is the rationale behind ONGC's global strategy?
Our plan is that about a third of our future investments will be in global operations. During the Tenth Plan, the capital outlay for ONGC is Rs 46,500 crore, of which Rs 13,500 crore is to invest in equities abroad.
Aren't there inherent risks in overseas projects, especially in politically sensitive countries?
The matrix to invest abroad includes two factors. The first is the potential reserves in the target country and the second is the attractiveness of those reserves as far as India is concerned....