BG's deadline angers Shastri Bhawan and ONGC

Vol 5, PW 23 (16 Jan 02) People & Policy

Nobody knows for sure if BG will finally get operatorship of Panna-Mukta-Tapti or if its deal with Enron will go ahead.

What is certain is that BG's attitude continues to irritate Shastri Bhawan and ONGC bureaucrats, particularly a December attempt to force through the deal. PETROWATCH learns that on 20th December BG India boss Nigel Shaw wrote to ONGC chief Subir Raha giving him a deadline to agree on the latest offer.

A source tells us Shaw asked Raha for "an indication by 5pm on Friday, 21st December 2001 as to whether this offer provides a basis for ONGC waiving its right to remove EOGIL as operator." Neither Raha nor Shastri Bhavan bureaucrats were amused. ONGC rejected the offer as being not much different from the earlier ones.

In his 20th December response to Shaw, Raha responded sharply. He objected to BG presenting issues for discussion with a "unilateral" deadline.

"As advised to you and your colleagues on several occasions, we do not consider this to be consistent with corporate positions, practice and prudence," writes Raha. "ONGC is under no obligation to abide by unilateral deadlines set by BG at their convenience." BG was also reminded that it had been "clearly advised" to formally negotiate with ONGC.

"It is obvious that BG is not open to such formal negotiations."