More complaints over ONGC’s Houston trip

Vol 26, PW 10 (04 May 23) People & Policy

As its delegates trickle back from Houston, ONGC faces more criticism for sending so many without any relevant background to the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) from May 1 to May 4 (2023).

LK Mirchandani, president of the Mumbai-based All India ONGC ex-Employees Welfare Association (OSEWA), wrote to oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri on April 29 (2023) complaining about how the list of 49 ONGC delegates (including chairman Arun Singh) to OTC was compiled. His letter, with the subject line Malpractice in the selection of ONGC delegates for OTC-USA, claims 45% or 22 of the 49 delegates to OTC belong to the finance, HR, onshore and other areas irrelevant for a purely technical offshore event.

Mirchandani stresses that seven were non-technical officers, five were from HR, and two were from finance. Similarly, 15 technical officers are not even from ONGC's offshore discipline - 11 are from the onshore domain, and four are from the CMD and directors' offices.

"OTC is the world's foremost event for the development of offshore resources," writes Mirchandani. "OTC aims to showcase leading-edge technology for offshore drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection."

He adds that the prestigious conference attracts attendees and showcases companies from around the world. Mirchandani expands on accusations made by former ONGC executive Hari Kumar, reported in our last (April 20) edition.

He alleges the delegate list is heavily tilted in favour of higher management, with six delegates from the E3 level, 16 from the E4-E6 level, and 27 from the most senior E7 and above levels. No officer from junior E1 and E2 levels was among those who travelled to Houston at company expense.

"The list denies the development of a chain of command down the line and does not augur well for talent development of ONGC's manpower engaged in offshore work as offshore oil and gas production forms a major chunk of ONGC's production," writes Mirchandani. He also refers to a webcast made to employees on April 20 (2023) by chairman Arun Singh who called for older executives to make way for young leaders.

"Are these intents only a showpiece for stakeholders?" wonders Mirchandani in his letter to the oil minister. "May we request your kind attention on implementing these intents?"