Sharma priority is to 'raise' ONGC onland output

Vol 23, PW 2 (14 Nov 19) People & Policy

As widely expected, Anurag Sharma has been selected as the next ONGC director onshore to replace SK Moitra who retires on May 31 (2020).

On October 31, the PESB recommended Sharma's name following interviews with six ONGC candidates and one each from IndianOil and Engineers India. Trained as a drilling engineer, executive director rank Sharma is head of the eastern onshore Karaikal asset since September 30.

A former chief executive assistant to Shashi Shanker, he's also widely believed to enjoy the chairman's full confidence and support. Sharma accepted a congratulatory phone call from Petrowatch while travelling in his car between meetings but said in a brief interaction that his immediate priority as director onshore would be to "enhance production" from ONGC's ageing onshore fields, some more than 50 years old.

Other ONGC sources add the Ankleshwar field discovered in 1960 and the Kalol field discovered in 1961 are good examples of ageing fields where production can be increased and claim 'natural decline' at ONGC's onshore fields is half (4%) the global average of 8%. True enough, ONGC saw onshore production rise 1.25% to 6.141m tonnes in 2018-19 over last year.

But overall production including from offshore fields showed a sharp 2.55% decline in September (2019) compared to September last year and a much steeper 5.46% lower than ONGC's targeted production, according to the oil ministry's latest all-India production report published on October 22 (2019).