Borthakur hot favourite as ONGC offshore director

Vol 15, PW 14 (26 Jan 12) People & Policy

ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva is rumoured to be backing Mumbai High asset chief PK Borthakur for the director offshore position, lying vacant since Vasudeva became company chairman last October.

Next month the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) begins interviewing 15 candidates for the high-profile post, responsible for the award of annual contracts worth more than $1bn. Borthakur is hot favourite to win, according to company sources, who say he has an excellent personal rapport with Vasudeva.

Borthakur, adds a source, was conspicuously appointed head of the Mumbai High field, ONGC’s largest asset, in early January - a significant promotion from his earlier position as executive director heading the much smaller Bassein and satellite fields offshore Mumbai. If appointed, Borthakur will hold the job until he retires in February 2014.

But he faces strong competition from another Vasudeva favourite: ONGC executive director PK Ghosh, who now heads the Bassein and satellite fields, but was earlier head of ONGC’s marketing division. Vasudeva’s third favourite is Anil Kumar Jain, formerly company executive director offshore logistics.

Since January Jain heads the JV operations group, overseeing the PMT, Mangala, PY-3, Ravva and CB-OS/2 partnerships. If successful, he could remain director offshore until June 2014 when he retires.

Vasudeva, speculates an observer, moved Ghosh and Jain to their present jobs so they could show current offshore hydrocarbon production experience on their CVs during interviews. Other internal candidates believed to have applied by the January 19 deadline are Ashok Varma, boss of OVL subsidiary Imperial Energy; Ajit Kumar, head of the Institute of Oil and Gas Production Technology; and SK Gupta, head of the Mehsana asset.