Empty chairs at Petrotech-2019 awards-dinner

Vol 22, PW 9 (21 Feb 19) People & Policy

By all accounts Petrotech-2019, the Indian oil industry's showcase trade fair held every two years, was a roaring success.

Not however, if you go by attendance at one of the main events to celebrate lifetime achievement awards for veteran oil industry personnel on February 11. A sea of empty chairs greeted a visibly uncomfortable ONGC chairman Shashi Shanker when he took the stage to make presentations.

After the hostess announced three technical awards and awards for two jury members, Shanker signaled her to stop and left the stage. Barely 200 people had turned up in the massive hall forcing organisers to ask everyone to move closer and occupy sofas meant for senior officials.

ONGC is under fire for its reluctance to issue invitations for this normally well-attended event in Hall No. 4 of the India Exposition Mart in Greater Noida.

Originally it was scheduled to begin at 7.30pm and awards were to be given to serving oil industry employees and lifetime achievement awards going to retired veterans. But it began only at 8pm and concluded half an hour later when the lifetime achievement awards segment was moved to the next day (February 12) because of poor attendance.

"We were told this event is strictly by invitation," says a senior manager at a state-owned oil company. "So we did not attend."

Even if a text message had been sent that afternoon to managers, he adds, they would have attended.

India Refining Summit