Bill Gammell new hero of Indian exploration sector

Vol 8, PW 21 (26 Jan 05) People & Policy

He doesnt look like your typical pin-up but Cairn Energy boss Bill Gammell is fast emerging as the poster boy of Indian exploration.

His speech during a session on Operating in India Experience & Expectations during the Petrotech 2005 trade fair in Delhi last week elicited several rounds of spontaneous applause from delegates marvelling at a company whose runaway success on the UK stock market is built solely on its phenomenal achievements in India. As Gammell pointed out, in 1992 Cairns share price was just آ£0.27p and the company valued at $10m.

Two years later it signed its first PSC in India and today its share price trades at around آ£11.00 with a stock market value of more than $3bn. Introducing Gammell to delegates, Indian Oil chairman MS Ramachandran described him as: A man with the Midas Touch because wherever he goes, he discovers oil.

Taking the stand, Gammell replied: If Ive got the Midas Touch, its because I hire people who are brighter than me. Gammell chronicled Cairns success in India, beginning with Ravva, CB-OS/2 and now Rajasthan.

He said the company has built its business on relationships and vision and that: Vision without action is a daydream but action without vision is a nightmare. Gammell later admitted to this report that this comment was not his own but from someone at Chevron! No matter, it had the desired effect on awestruck delegates, hungry to know how Cairn turned the barren sands of Rajasthan into Indias latest oil producing province.

In Rajasthan, said Gammell, Cairn began with a blank sheet of paper and today has uncovered 2bn barrels of in-place oil. He said that together the Mangala and Aishwarya fields in Rajasthan could produce 100,000 b/d.