After declaring its annual financial results (AFR) for FY 2021-22 on 28 May 2022, the CMD and Directors of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) interacted with journalists in Mumbai on 30 May 2022, for sharing ONGC Group performance and the growth plans in next 3 years.
CMD Dr Alka Mittal welcoming media persons during the interactive session in Mumbai
The session was held in a hybrid mode whereby senior journalists from the petroleum beat joined in-person in Mumbai as well as digitally from other places across the country like Delhi and Kolkata. Besides CMD and Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal, Director (Exploration) RK Srivastava, Director (T&FS) OP Singh, Director (Onshore) Anurag Sharma, Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar and Director (Finance) Pomila Jaspal responded to media queries. The journalists evinced keen interest in the state-owned energy giant as the interactive session itself and one-on-one interviews extended for over an hour.
CMD and other Directors of ONGC responding the queries of journalists from across the country
After an introductory welcome anchored by ED-Chief CC Harish Kumar Awal, CMD Dr Mittal shared the importance ONGC attaches to media interactions. “Media has been an important element in the business of ONGC.” Greeting the journalists, CMD said, “Good to meet you personally after some time.” Reflecting on the financial turnaround of the company after the last two years of the pandemic, Dr Mittal explained, “The more we talk about the challenges with the media, more clarity will emerge for all our stakeholders”. “I ideally hope that we can tide over some speculative reporting which can impact our economy,” she added.
Talking about ONGC, she said, “Our people are our biggest strength. During the pandemic as well, our people walked the extra mile to keep the country fuelled. With the discovery of Vindhyan basin this year, ONGC has discovered eight of the nine Basins in India. We are steadfast in our commitment to explore aggressively for the next three years.”
CMD Dr Mittal answering queries related to ONGC growth plans
After the opening remarks of CMD, Head-Corporate Strategy Rajarshi Gupta presented the corporate highlights and growth plans of ONGC Group. He presented that ONGC has been the largest market capitalization among CPSEs. “In FY22, we have earned our highest profit in our history. ONGC’s net worth is 25% of the total net worth of all Maharatna CPSEs. Besides being the highest CSR spender, we have one of the most gender-diverse Boards,” Mr Gupta added.
Giving further insights about the ONGC Group, Mr Gupta noted that ONGC, today, is an integrated petroleum company having footprints across the energy value chain. “It is a 90 billion dollar group. ONGC has produced over two billion tons of oil and gas to date. ONGC is in a very healthy financial position today that has enabled it to go aggressive on exploration and infrastructure projects. In three years, ONGC has discovered two new Basins – Bengal in 2019 and Vindhyan in 2022,” he stated, adding that the Maharatna is also focusing on bringing more Basins on the production map of India in the next 3-4 years.
Journalists from Reuters, ABP, ET and other media houses listening to CMD’s address during the session
Mr Gupta also informed that ONGC is planning to increase production from 40.5 to 47.8 MMTOE in the next three years. Furthermore, significant technology initiatives are being adopted in the various core E&P segments by ONGC, he said.
Highlights of ONGC Videsh were also presented along with those of other group companies like MRPL, HPCL and other value-chain companies. Mr Gupta also reiterated the organization’s commitment to the community, environment protection and for an ethical workplace. ONGC’s efforts under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ were also shared on the occasion, including the indigenous development of oxygen concentrators during the second wave of the pandemic.
The presentation was followed by an engaging interactive session with the media. Responding to a query on the possibility of windfall tax in ONGC, CMD Dr Mittal assured that the government is supporting the organization to go aggressive in exploration requiring capex investments; hence “we don’t feel that such a tax is in the offing.”
Journalists asking queries related to ONGC’s future E&P plan via video-conferencing
Responding to another query on volumes of ONGC in gas trading, Director (Onshore) Anurag Sharma asserted, “We are now testing the market with a small trade and it has been successful”. Responding to another query on Gas subsidiary of ONGC, Director (Onshore) Anurag Sharma said here that ONGC subsidiary is for gas of the parent company ONGC, LNG and green hydrogen in the near future. “The structure is being put in place and we may float the subsidiary in the next 2-3 years,” he added.
Presenting the status of the Ashokenagar project in Bengal, Director (Exploration) R K Srivastava said that exploration is underway in the eastern state of India for decades. “Data revisit resulted in the discovery of the Bengal Basin. The appraisal is going on now. One more Well has been drilled, four are to be drilled. Additional prospects have been identified through Seismics. So, a lot many things are happening. As soon as the appraisal is over, the development will begin within 2-3 years, thereby enhancing the production further,” he explained further.
Replying to a query on investments in Bengal, Mr Srivastava said that around Rs 200-300 crore has been allotted for Seismics while another Rs 200-300 crore has been reserved for Drilling in the next 2-3 years.
CMD Dr Mittal also held one-on-one interactions with the electronic channels
Responding to another query, CMD said ONGC Videsh is aggressively scouting for collaboration abroad. Responding to another query on project cost outlook, she said, “Our CAPEX investments are going strong and we are looking ahead for both greenfield and brownfield projects in the future,” she said.
Talking about renewables and adopting green energy, CMD noted that ONGC has collaborated with NTPC and some overseas firms, especially Norway-based Equinor, for offshore winds and CCUS, besides E&P. “We are moving ahead strategically. By 2025, we can touch 1 GW of renewable energy. Our focus on gas makes our business greener,” she noted.
With oil and gas prices increasing now, Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar shared that higher crude oil prices have improved project viabilities now. “Apart from brownfields like redevelopment of Mumbai High, greenfield projects like KG 98/2 are there; more such projects are being conceived now.”
Responding to some queries on Russian sanctions and its impact on ONGC Videsh operations, CMD said, “We are keeping a close watch on the situation with constant dialogue with the Ministry.” MD OVL designate Rajarshi Gupta said that ONGC Videsh sells on FOB basis. “Moreover, no dividends are pending.” He added, as a Board-managed company, ONGC Videsh evaluates the merit of each project vis-à-vis strategic fit, which is done continuously.
Journalists also asked questions about the Maharatna’s investment plans and collaborations overseas
Over a query on the possible increase in gas prices, Director (Finance) Pomila Jaspal explained that the same is expected to go up in the next six months. Reflecting on crude oil prices, Ms Jaspal said while the short-term price is visible, the long-run price may stabilize around 80-90$/barrel.
The media interaction comes after ONGC’s Board of Directors held their 350th meeting on 28 May 2022, approving the annual results for FY’22. The company crossed its gross revenue of Rs 34,497 crore in Q4FY’22, up by 63%; Rs 1,10,345 crore in FY’22, up by 62%, besides a net profit of Rs 8,860 crore in Q4 FY’22, up by 32%; Rs 40,306 crore in FY’22, up by 258%.