Vol 3, PW 11 (23 Jun 99) Midstream & Downstream

No boardroom is free of rivalry between ambitious directors and the board of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) can not claim to be any different.

Petrowatch learns of an embarrassing incident involving two IOC directors and an IOC tender of some high-tech satellite equipment for data and voice communications. In February this year, Subir Raha, Director, Human Resource Development, issued a tender inviting bids for a satellite based data and voice communication system based on the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) network.

The notice was issued from Delhi. Weeks later, IOCs marketing director, Onkar Nath Marwah, issued another tender from Bombay for the same system, to link up IOCs far-flung marketing outlets across the country, even though this had been covered in the earlier tender issued by Raha - a clear duplication of roles and a waste of time and money.

Officials in charge of IOC at the oil ministry are not happy at the mix-up and are demanding speedy clarification from the IOC board. For the moment, the hapless Raha is out in the cold.

IOC chairman Mohammed Pathan has come down on the side of his marketing director. IOCs tender for the VSAT system is part of a wider programme of modernisation.

The company, which boasts it is Indias only Fortune 500 company, has launched a major programme to expand and revamp its extensive network of 6,460 retail outlets. More than 3,000 outlets have already been modernised with flashy marketing logos and IOC is simultaneously looking to set up new retail outlets all over India.

It has invited bids from interested parties owning land for outright sale or lease.