By the Way

Drilling for CMD

ONGC in search for Chairman & Managing Director
Enter Vol.14 ISSUE 4-6 JULY-SEPT 2020

An intense marathon is underway for the post of Chairman of ONGC. The incumbent CMD Shashi Shanker’s term is ending in March 2021. And so far there has been no move to select the new CMD by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) as its Chairman Rajiv Kumar has been appointed as Election Commissioner of India. The PESB is head less. More worrisome is the pathetic condition of ONGC. The Maharatna has become a milking cow for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. A lobbyist, who wants this organisation to perish, has hammered the share price in seven years.  The share price of ONGC has dropped from Rs 310.43 on June 6, 2014 to Rs 69.10 on September 30, 2020. COVID-19 has further broken its financial backbone as Brent crude prices were lower than the breakeven price of ONGC. According to ONGC’s FY19 Annual Report, every $1 a barrel change in prices of crude oil, natural gas and other products has an impact of Rs 6,004 crore on its revenue. Sources disclosed that the names floating around do not make any difference as the final selection will be decided by the oil drilling and exploration companies. As one source disclosed, Alphageo, Aban Offshore, Deep Industries, HOEC, Jindal Drilling, Asian Oilfield, Selan Explore, Dolphin Offshore and Duke Offshore are the big companies which are in one way or other associated with the activities of ONGC. All these companies reportedly have major stakes and every decision of ONGC influences their activities. Sources disclosed that there are approximately 13 candidates for the coveted post but the names of AP Das Joshi, a 1994-batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre (originally from Gujarat), and OP Singh, Director-Technical and Field Services, are prominent. Interestingly, Das Joshi’s batch and cadre mate, Rajeev Chandra Joshi, is the Chief Vigilance Officer of ONGC. G

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