Sudan expert is new OVL director exploration

Vol 16, PW 25 (11 Jul 13) People & Policy

Anil Bhandari will soon say goodbye to the glimmering Nile River as he moves back to Delhi from Khartoum in Sudan as OVL's next director exploration.

Fifty-eight year old Bhandari is OVL country manager for Sudan and surprised many with his selection after PESB interviews on June 26. Bhandari beat 14 others to win the prestigious post, vacated on March 31 by NK Verma who moved to parent company ONGC as director exploration.

“No one was talking about Bhandari,” confesses an ONGC source. “He doesn't belong to any lobby, this was a fair selection done on merit.

” Bhandari's file was sent last week to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for clearance, which should take two weeks. Next the oil ministry will send it to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), where it will take another two months.

In the interim Bhandari is likely to be back in Delhi as Officer on Special Duty, a temporary position held by all incoming directors. Talking to PETROWATCH from Khartoum, Bhandari said he would focus on acquiring conventional assets in east Africa and North America, oil sands in South America and deepwater opportunities in the Caspian Sea.

Long term, Bhandari said OVL should buy exploration assets to hit OVL’s target to produce 60m tonnes of oil equivalent by 2030. “We are an E&P company and should focus on exploration assets that can produce in the next seven or eight years," he says.

"We can get good assets without paying too much of a premium.