Vol 3, PW 8 (12 May 99) Exploration & Production

In case you didnt know, ONGC has its own secret body to guard sensitive figures illustrating in-place and recoverable oil and gas reserves.

It is called the Reserves Estimate Committee (REC) and it sits within the comfortable confines of ONGCs Keshava Deva Malviya Institute of Petroleum Exploration (KDIMPE) in Dehra Dun. The REC is headed by a senior ONGC official, with the rank of Group General Manager (GGM).

In ONGCs hierarchy, the GGM reports directly to Kuldeep Chandra, Executive Director, KDIMPE. He in turn reports directly to TK Gopalaswamy, Director Exploration, on ONGCs board.

Every year, on 31 March, at the end of the financial year, members of the REC revise figures illustrating Indias in-place and recoverable reserves of crude oil and gas, with upgrades or downgrades. Its figures are based on evaluation of seismic by ONGCs Exploration & Development (E&D) Directorate at Anveshan Bhavan.

The E&D Directorate is considered "the eyes and ears" of the Director Exploration, and works closely with the REC. "The figures are so sensitive even the production engineer in a given field wont be told what the in-place reserves are", a former ONGC officer tells this report.

Not without reason, oil and gas companies eager to enter India are keen see the numbers, in particular for areas like the Krishna Godavari. Their efforts are likely to be in vain.

ONGC releases such figures at its discretion, on payment of vast sums of money.

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