Security breach as E&P data stolen from ONGC

Vol 20, PW 16 (04 May 17) People & Policy

ONGC's relaxed approach to security has resulted in a major data theft from its Dehradun-based E&D (Exploration and Development) Directorate.

Files have gone missing related to exploration and development in north-eastern state Assam, not far from the Chinese border. India is paranoid about Chinese companies working in its oil and gas sector and potentially having access to sensitive data with political or even military uses.

SN Tiwari, a senior ONGC HR officer, signed a First Information Report (FIR) or complaint at the Bindal police station in Dehradun on April 26 announcing the data theft. Tiwari is also executive assistant to P.

Raja, executive director and head of the E&D directorate. E&P data had recently been moved from the main building to 12 empty rooms at another site behind the main building, awaiting transfer to a new under-construction Directorate building.

"Our officers visited those quarters to put files there when necessary," reports a company source. "On April 25 one of our employee went to the rooms to add data and discovered that files kept in Rooms 2 and 3 were missing.

All the files on Assam were gone." Luckily ONGC had backups of all the paper files in digital form. "What we lost was waste paper," we hear.

"But data theft is serious. What if it falls into the wrong hands?" Also in the rooms was data on the Mumbai, KG-PG basin, and Baroda PEL/ML areas.