BN Talukdar appointment at DGH in doubt

Vol 17, PW 11 (16 Jan 14) People & Policy

BN Talukdar might not become the new DGH boss after all.

PETROWATCH learns the prime minister’s office (PMO) wrote to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) last month (December) asking it to delay Talukdar’s appointment until after NELP-X. “They want (present director general) RN Choubey to continue until contracts are awarded,” says a government source.

“If Choubey is replaced now it will hurt the bidding round.” NELP-X was formally announced by oil minister Veerappa Moily on (Sunday) January 13 at the Petrotech-2014 oil and gas conference where he announced 46 blocks that have received official clearance, with more expected later.

No clarity was offered on terms and conditions or bid submission and contract award dates. But informally the oil ministry wants bids submitted by August and blocks awarded in December - the same month Talukdar retires aged 60.

“If the PMO wants Choubey to continue, one can’t do much,” adds another government official. “The DGH has planned overseas road-shows to attract investors.

If the DGH head changes now it will send the wrong signal.” He adds: “Attracting foreign investors will take more effort.

The new revenue-sharing model is different to what we have now.” Talukdar, 59, has been Oil India director exploration since December 1, 2007.

He was selected on August 9, 2013 to replace Choubey, a technocrat parachuted in to salvage the DGH’s reputation after former head VK Sibal moved out.

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