The petroleum ministry’s plan to sell away ONGC’s biggest oil and gas fields to international firms has met with powerful opposition from the officers association of the company, which has said that the government should allow and give the firm a level-playing field rather than giving away its prime assets to private sectors.
The Association of Scientific & Technical Offices of ONGC requested Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri against a motion placed by Amar Nath, additional secretary (exploration) in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, for giving away 60 per cent stake and operatorship of Mumbai High and Bassein & Satellite (B&S) offshore assets to foreign partners for increasing output.
The union, which embodies ONGC’s 17,000 officers, said the company and its employees are entirely adjusted with the government goal of boosting domestic production to decrease imports, and for this to occur, ONGC should be given the same fiscal and administrative term as the private sector exercises for examining and manufacturing oil and gas.
The government-dictated under market price gas price fixation for ONGC areas should be evaluated to make a production from smaller and remote fields viable, it addressed to Puri on November 11. Also, ONGC should be given the freedom to market small pools of natural gas, which are unviable in the present price regime.
Sanctioned clearances and authorisations for ONGC need to be optimised, and procedural features rejigged to support the firm take faster decisions. Farming out stake in “existing fields shall not yield the desired results of enhancing domestic production, instead, it will provide a level playing field and empower ONGC to further enhance productivity,” the union wrote.
“We would therefore request you that handing over producing fields on a platter to the private operator will not be successful and therefore, in our opinion, should not be pursued,” it added.
It said research of oil and gas is a perilous endeavour where very few like to participate. “This is evident from the tepid response to the bids invited under OALP (bid rounds), where only ONGC and to some extent OIL are the only bidders.”