DGH scolds GSPC for sending MC details to oil ministry

Vol 11, PW 23 (15 May 08) People & Policy

Pleasing everyone is difficult, at the best of times.

Especially if you are dealing with two arms of government that exercise parallel control of exploration and production in India, namely: the DGH, headed by VK Sibal; and the exploration division of the oil ministry, headed by joint secretary AK Jain - the country’s most senior official charged solely with exploration and production. In India operators are legally required to keep the government abreast of their activities on a regular basis but occasionally they might be forgiven for questioning who is really in charge: the DGH or the oil ministry Last week came the deafening response in a one-page, two paragraph missive from the DGH to GSPC.

Dated May 7, PS Ojha, â€کadvisor’ at the DGH, warns GSPC in no uncertain terms that it should disclose all activity to the DGH, and not to the oil ministry. “The Director General of the DGH (VK Sibal) is chairman of the Management Committee (MC),â€‌ writes Ojha, matter of fact.

“In accordance with article 6.8 of the PSC, any agenda or information to be discussed in the MC is finalised by the chairman and therefore all letters must be addressed to the chairman only.â€‌ DGH officials, it seems, are uneasy about GSPC’s habit of addressing letters simultaneously to Jain and Sibal, particularly about well testing results, pointing to a letter on April 28 in which GSPC informs them both about inconclusive test results from well M#6 at NELP-IV block CB-ONN-2002/3.

Adds the DGH: “It is observed that many of the letters from (GSPC general manager) MY Farooqui are not addressed to the chairman (Sibal) and since these letters are not in line with the PSC provisions they are returned in original with the understanding that no action has been taken.â€‌ Chastened by this school-masterly put-down, GSPC is now in the unenviable position of re-drafting all the letters and sending them off again.

The moral of the story: if you are an operator and want to disclose something, make sure you tell the DGH first, before anyone else.