'Oil India must change mind set,' says Mahapatra

Vol 17, PW 19 (08 May 14) People & Policy

Oil India must lose its parochial mentality, move out of Assam and get serious about exploiting untapped oil and gas at blocks elsewhere in India and overseas.

So says Sudhakar Mahapatra, controversially selected by the PESB on April 22 as Oil India’s next director exploration to replace BN Talukdar who moved to the DGH in February. "I hope to change Oil India’s mind set and expand its exploration portfolio in India and abroad," says Mahapatra, currently GM exploration and development at OVL.

Speaking to PETROWATCH from his office in Delhi on April 29, Mahapatra admits it will be a challenge to transform Oil India from a small operator with its roots in Assam to a global player. “Oil India earns its bread and butter from the northeast,” adds Mahapatra.

“But it has also built an impressive portfolio of assets in other parts of India.” Mahapatra’s selection over ten Oil India candidates and three ONGC colleagues surprised many, particularly because of lingering (but unproven) allegations of misconduct during his stint with ONGC Mittal Energy in Nigeria from 2008 to 2011, a charge he dismisses with a wave, confident he will win CVC anti-corruption clearance.

"There's no vigilance case against me," he stresses. "Yes, an internal departmental inquiry was conducted but I received a clean chit.


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