DGH and ONGC argue over Bombay High

Vol 5, PW 15 (12 Sep 01) Exploration & Production

Controversy is swallowing up the Bombay High redevelopment programme as the DGH and ONGC clash over the best way to proceed.

With unfailing regularity, the two jab and pierce each other through 'friendly' journalists. The latest round went to ONGC; with a 29th August Indian Express story, which alleges the DGH, is trying to sabotage ONGC's ambitious 'Bombay High South' redevelopment, scheduled to kick off last July.

Our sources tell us DGH boss Avinash Chandra was so rattled by the detailed report - garnished with technical details - that he sought a meeting with oil secretary Vijayendra Kaul to complain about leaks organised by ONGC to tarnish his image. During the meeting, Chandra's plea went unheard.

He was reminded of an earlier story in the weekly national news magazine Outlook that severely criticised ONGC and the oil ministry. "Someone at the meeting reminded him that nobody pointed fingers at him when the ministry and ONGC were painted as a bunch of crooks and he was portrayed as the only capable geologist left in the country." The oil ministry, however, is getting tired of this shadow boxing and its impact on exploration and production.

"These are geological quarrels dating back to pre-historic days," a senior ministry official comments wryly. Oil ministry officials are worried at the fall-out of these quarrels on the health of the Bombay High reservoir.