Pankaj Kumar or Gyani for ONGC director offshore

Vol 23, PW 22 (10 Sep 20) People & Policy

Any impartial observer would think Sandeep Gupta has the best chance of replacing Rajesh Kakkar as ONGC director offshore because of his years of experience.

But sources are talking about Ahmedabad asset head Pankaj Kumar or Omkar Nath Gyani, head of ONGC's Ahmedabad-based Institute of Reservoir Studies (IRS), as the frontrunners to replace Kakkar, who retires on April 30 (2021). On May 21 (2020), the PESB advertised the post and received applications by July 30.

But there's still no clarity on when the PESB will hold interviews. ONGC sources talk of nine colleagues who have applied.

Topping the list with years of experience is Sandeep Gupta, an executive director (ED) heading the joint ventures division followed by Namit Sharma, head of the Neelam and Heera fields offshore Mumbai. Next is Kumar followed by Anand Gupta, additional DG at the DGH.

Others in the race are Tripura asset manager Tarun Malik; RK Sharma, chief of drilling services; Chandran Mathavan, head of the Bassein & Satellite Asset and Cambay asset head Amit Narayan. All are executive directors.

But with the government determined to boost domestic oil production and cut rising oil imports, many feel Kumar or Gyani stand the best chance. "Kumar is a production engineer with wide field experience and a good track record," we hear.

As Cambay asset manager in 2015, he is credited with boosting oil production to 650 t/d (4400 b/d), says one supporter.