Atanu Chakraborty on warpath against ONGC

Vol 21, PW 2 (19 Oct 17) People & Policy

Atanu Chakraborty is flexing his muscles and trying to tighten DGH control over a reluctant ONGC, generating huge resentment.

Two examples stand out: Chakraborty's decision to micro-manage ONGC's core analysis laboratories and his displeasure at ONGC's announcement of an oil discovery without permission. This month (October) Chakraborty ordered ONGC to hand over control of laboratories housing core samples of every exploration, development or appraisal well it has drilled.

"It has been decided by the DGH to set up a National Core Laboratory to address the needs of the E&P industry in India," reads the order. "As this may take time ONGC core labs are declared National Core Laboratories in the interim." Expect a showdown between ONGC and the DGH over the laboratories located in Assam, Baroda, Mumbai, Dehradun and Tamil Nadu.

"Data from cores is the main takeaway of drilling wells," ONGC tells us. "No operator in the world shares this!" ONGC alleges Chakraborty is frustrated because he can't move out of the DGH despite his promotion to secretary rank.

"He's wrongly influencing the oil ministry which is agreeing everything he wants," adds an ONGC source. Still unclear is if Chakraborty's order complies with the The Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules, 1959.

ONGC says it will find out and respond accordingly. In private however it admits that as a state-owned company it has little choice but to to obey whatever the ministry dictates.

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