Oilex wants Indian country chief not an 'expat'

Vol 17, PW 12 (30 Jan 14) People & Policy

Australian explorer Oilex is about to do what every oil company should do if it wants to succeed in India: appoint a local Indian country manager.

“Ideally we’d like a ‘local expat Indian’ with five years’ experience drilling shale wells in North Dakota!” Ron Miller, Oilex managing director, tells PETROWATCH in London, tongue firmly in cheek. “But we know that’s difficult!” Oilex has been without a country manager since the abrupt dismissal of chief operating officer Mike Maloney on October 7 last year.

Two head-hunting firms have since been appointed to fill a new ‘GM – India Assets’ position created to replace Maloney. Around 20 candidates have been identified, since reduced to a shortlist of eight.

“Oilex’s philosophy is that we don’t need the attributes of an ‘expat’ to run our Indian portfolio,” adds Miller. “We believe the best person for the job can be recruited from local (Indian) talent.

Of the initial 20 there were lots of ‘expats’ but all the (8) short-listed are Indian.” Whoever emerges will have his work cut out ensuring Oilex doesn’t botch drilling of Cambay well 77-H using imported US-shale ‘frakking’ technology as it did with well 76-H located 250 metres away – to the irritation of JV partner GSPC.

Essar Oilfield Services this month (January) began assembling its 1500-hp Rig 4 shipped in from Dubai for an anticipated spud date of well 77-H anytime between February 22 and March 9.