Verma's priority as ONGC director exploration

Vol 16, PW 16 (07 Mar 13) People & Policy

Narendra Kumar Verma received excellent news on February 27 when the oil ministry confirmed his appointment as the next ONGC director exploration.

Fifty-four-year-old Verma is director exploration at ONGC’s overseas arm OVL but takes charge as the parent company’s new director exploration on April 1, replacing SV Rao who retires a day earlier. “My priority is to maximise exploration and discover oil and gas,” Verma tells PETROWATCH.

“I want to accelerate the process to monetise all announced discoveries.” Verma’s file reached the oil ministry from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on February 26 after clearance by the PM-headed Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

At ONGC he will have his work cut out identifying suitable ‘technology partners’ that ONGC says it wants for 19 deepwater exploration blocks: 15 in water depths of over 3000 metres and four in water depths of 500 to 3000 metres. Verma must also manage ONGC's plans to farm-out up to 35% at its Jharia, Bokaro, North Karanpura and Raniganj North CBM blocks.

But his greatest challenge will be to start production from its NELP blocks. ONGC has 33 discoveries at 76 NELP blocks.

“But not a single one is producing," we hear. "ONGC is criticised because of this.

” Verma must also unlock 400m to 700m tonnes of production from ‘Yet To Find’ (YTF) exploration areas in line with ONGC's vision from now till 2030. Verma supporters say he is fully competent to meet these challenges as he is a quick decision maker and persistent.

“Verma is aggressive and focused,” says one.