ONGC 'buries' Ryder Scott report in GSPC deal

Vol 20, PW 8 (12 Jan 17) People & Policy

In public ONGC is celebrating its acquisition of GSPC's 80% in the Deen Dayal gasfield but in private company sources accuse senior management of suppressing a negative report by reservoir consultants Ryder Scott under pressure from the prime minister's office.

No mention of the report is made in the press release issued by ONGC on December 23 announcing its $995.26m acquisition of GSPC's stake and operator position at eastern offshore block KG-OSN-2001/3 plus an additional $200m to develop six other discoveries in the future. Astonishingly, an ONGC source tells us that according to the Scott report ONGC can recover only 24% of the 1-tcf in-place gas at Deen Dayal.

"At prevailing gas prices," he says, "this acquisition is a loss-making proposition." Worse, extracting gas from a reservoir with temperatures touching 450-degree Fahrenheit will be hugely challenging. "This is a big scam!" alleges another ONGC source, more forcefully.

"Our Board should be held accountable for approving the deal." ONGC appointed Ryder Scott in July 2016 to analyse Deen Dayal reserves and received its report in December. "The (oil) ministry told (ONGC chairman DK) Sarraf not to disclose its findings," we hear.

Anxious not to suffer the same fate as former additional secretary UP Singh, Sarraf obliged. In May 2016, Singh was kicked out of the ministry amid rumours he angered Narendra Modi by challenging the acquisition on commercial grounds.

Calls to ONGC chairman Sarraf weren't returned.