Butola wins extension as OVL managing director

Vol 12, PW 24 (07 May 09) People & Policy

Anyone dealing with ONGC Videsh will be pleased to hear that managing director Ranbir Singh Butola has won a well-deserved five year extension to his term in office.

PETROWATCH learns 55-year old Butola was interviewed by the Public Enterprises Selection Board on May 4 and told he could stay on for another five years until May 31, 2014 and mandatory retirement at 60. Butola’s well-wishers were quick to praise the decision of PESB panel members oil secretary RS Pandey, ONGC chairman RS Sharma and permanent members C.

Phonsog, VS Jain, AK Singh and chairman Naresh Narad. “Butola has been involved in the acquisition of 38 of OVL’s 42 assets in 17 countries, either as director finance or managing director,â€‌ says one.

“Of these 38 assets, 32 happened during his present term as managing director, two when he was in transition between the director finance and MD post, and four when he was director finance.â€‌ But it hasn’t been all success.

“Butola lost some prized opportunities in the last five years,â€‌ adds our source. “They were almost in his hands but he lost them for reasons beyond his control, mainly because of slow government decision-making or the seller changing his mind.

â€‌ Some examples of the â€کlost opportunities’ include a stake in Block 18 in Angola, the acquisition of Calgary-based PetroKazakhstan and losing OML-130 in Nigeria. A former banker, like his friend and colleague ONGC chairman RS Sharma, Butola worked in ONGC’s finance department as general manager before moving to OVL as director finance on November 15, 2002.

He served as director finance for close to two years before taking over as MD on May 13, 2004 from Atul Chandra, who moved to Reliance. Butola is widely touted as a possible contender for the ONGC top-job as CMD when it comes up again in 2011.

“Don’t rule him out,â€‌ says a source. “He backed out of the last interviews because he has a very high regard for (RS) Sharma and did not want to compete against him.