But can a geologist reverse ONGCآ’s low strike rate?

Vol 10, PW 8 (10 Aug 06) People & Policy

As ONGC is Indias largest and richest explorer the process to select its CMD is being keenly watched by both domestic and foreign companies.

But some think hiring a geologist will not improve ONGCs low discovery rate. A CMD does not have the time to micro-manage the company, we are told.

The CMD is supposed to give broad direction and formulate a strategy for the company. Under the McKinsey-inspired corporate restructuring campaign implemented at ONGC by Subir Raha, says a source, all asset and basin managers have been given more autonomy, powers and responsibility.

Each of these managers is an exploration or development geologist, we hear. It is not right to say that geologists have been sidelined.

Shells selling its Rajasthan exploration block to Cairn Energy, we are told, disproves the argument that only a geologist-driven company can make discoveries. Do you mean that Shell did not have geologists in key positions in India Also, Ravva was discovered by ONGC in the 1980s but was privatised by the government.

Instead of being purely a specialist who could get lost in detail the new CMD, we are told, should be a person with a forward looking outlook, a vision and strategy for the company. Of the 14 candidates who have applied for the CMD job, only two are geologists: DK Pande (director exploration at ONGC) and Dr MN Prasad (CEO of HPCL-subsidiary Prize Petroleum).

Other candidates are: acting ONGC chairman and director finance RS Sharma, director human resources Dr AK Balyan, director offshore NK Mitra, director onshore AK Hazarika, director technology and field services UN Bose, ONGC Videsh MD RS Butola, DGH director general VK Sibal, IOC director business development BM Bansal, GAIL human resources director MR Hingnikar, GAIL director marketing Dr UD Choubey, GAIL executive directors CN Trivedi and Satish Kumar. Though no date has yet been announced, interviews are expected to take place at the end of this month.

Acting chairman RS Sharma has a natural advantage over his competitors. He is a low-key, non-controversial person, we hear.

Unlike Raha he wont antagonise the ministry. Another favourite being talked about is DGH boss VK Sibal.

LNG Summit