Chevron opens new office in Delhi with upstream focus

Vol 10, PW 17 (14 Dec 06) People & Policy

Chevron is on the look out for new business in India.

In October, the global oil and gas major set up a temporary office in Delhi's Nehru Place with Houston-returned John Digby as president. Digby, aged 49, is an economist by training and has been with Chevron for the last 26 years.

Before coming to India he was global head of the company's aviation fuel business. In a talk with PETROWATCH, Digby tells us Chevron's Indian operations would soon move into a more permanent office in Delhi.

"If we claim to be a global oil and gas company, and we do, then we have to be present in India", he says. Chevron's global boss Dave OReilly will underline the companys renewed enthusiasm for India when he arrives in Delhi for a week in February.

During his visit O-Reilly will hold high-level talks with Reliance and senior government ministers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Earlier this year, Chevron bought 5% equity in Reliance's refinery expansion at Jamnagar, with an option to raise its stake to 29%.

We have a strong relationship with Reliance, adds Digby. We dont want to ignore the emergence of India as an economic powerhouse and want to be here in various parts of the energy chain.

Chevron also has an alliance with state-owned Hindustan Petroleum to provide services and help it sell jet fuel in the global market. We are here with a very open mind and are very excited about the opportunities in India, especially in the upstream sector.

Chevron has no presence in the Indian upstream sector to date but its interest in Reliance's deepwater blocks is already well documented. Chevron is also one of four companies shortlisted by GSPC for a possible 20% farm-in to discovery block KG-OSN-2001/3, where testing is underway.

We have special strengths in the deepwater exploration business, says Digby. Chevron did not bid for blocks in NELP-VI.

Explains Digby: "We did not bid because we did not see it as an appropriate opportunity that best fits our global strategy". Digby said Chevron has no plans to enter the LNG import business in India in the immediate future, despite its global expertise.

LNG is a longer term story, he says.