Minister of State Rameswar Teli appreciates ONGC, keen to push proposals stuck up in government

Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Labor & Employment, Rameswar Teli appreciated the operations as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects of Energy Maharatna ONGC, during his visit to ONGC Delhi office on 14 September 2021 coinciding with Rajbhasha Hindi Diwas. Mr Teli was on his maiden visit to ONGC Corporate Office after taking over as Minister of State (MoS) for Petroleum and Natural Gas. He expressed his eagerness to expedite proposals related to ONGC projects or initiatives pending at various layers of the Government. ONGC CMD Subhash Kumar, Personal Secretary to the Minister Virendra Mittal (IAS), Directors and Key Executives of ONGC and senior officials of the Ministry participated in this review.

In view of the Rajbhasha Diwas, all proceedings were conducted in Hindi Language.

CMD Subhash Kumar (left) presenting a brass offshore rig replica to the Minister
CMD Subhash Kumar (left) presenting a brass offshore rig replica to the Minister

A presentation was made by EDCorporate Planning & Head Strategy Rajarshi Gupta on the various facets of ONGC operations. Starting with ONGC history, the presentation took the audience through the growth and the current achievements and the road map for the future. The Minister and his PS Mr. Mittal (Assam Meghalaya cadre IAS) expressed keen eagerness to know more and asked ONGC to send a note to the Minister’s office detailing the various proposals that are pending at various layers of the government.

Minister of State, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Rameswar Teli, interacting during the review
Minister of State, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Rameswar Teli, interacting during the review

Interacting during the occasion, Mr Teli said that he has always been fascinated with oil and gas operations. Born amidst oil fragrance in Duliajan, a key oil production center, some 100 kms. from Sivasagar in Assam, Mr Teli used to visit drill sites as a teenager. “Drilling rigs attracted me”, he said reminiscing his days when he and friends used to play near the rigs. He shared few anecdotes of his childhood and teenage where his interest in oil and gas industry grew. He shared his happiness that he has been handed the portfolio of two vital economic sectors -- Petroleum & Natural Gas and Labor & Employment.

The Minister of State shared with ONGC executives that there is a lot of work that can be done in the field of Petroleum and Natural Gas. He said that a lot of investment is coming in oil sector in Assam region and added that enhancing capacities of refineries in Assam and other states is on the anvil. During the interaction, he enquired about several issues of the Oil and Gas business.

Remembering his previous visit to ONGC DUB building, Mr Teli said this was his second visit. “My first visit to ONGC was when Mr DK Saraf was the CMD. It was in connection with a project for the construction of 200 toilet blocks in my constituency.” The MoS said that he visited nearby places many times and wanted to visit ONGC Office. Lauding the efforts of the Maharatna in supporting local communities, Mr Teli said that he looks forward to more CSR projects of ONGC under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The Minister had launched the third ONGC-supported handicraft project under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. ONGC is supporting 15 of 75 projects being undertaken by Oil and Gas PSUs under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

CMD and Directors welcome the MoS
CMD and Directors welcome the MoS

Earlier, the Minister of State was welcomed to ONGC by CMD Subhash Kumar and Directors. In his welcome address, the CMD thanked Mr Teli for his visit notwithstanding his busy schedule. Mr Kumar said that the organization has a special relationship with Assam and has actively engaged with Assam and Assamese Culture. Mentioning that ONGC had consolidated its position as an E&P operator in early 1960 in Lakwa in Assam, he said that a posting in Assam is a given for ONGCians and added that as of now around 3,800 employees are posted at various work centers in the state. “ONGCians have a special engagement with Assam and Assamese culture”. CMD expressed his gratefulness to the Minister for inaugurating the third handicraft project of ONGC. CMD said that the biggest CSR Project of ONGC is in Assam’s Sivasagar -- Swargdew Siu-Ka-Pha Multi-Specialty Hospital, which is scheduled to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister. The ONGC CSR project at Bahona College in Assam was also discussed.

The Minister with ONGC top management
The Minister with ONGC top management

“Contrary to media perception, ONGC relative share in domestic production is increasing. We have done much better than private sector in relative terms and we aspire to do well in absolute terms as well,” the CMD said. He expressed confidence that ONGC can become one of the largest producers in the next few years in terms of Petrochemicals production volumes. Mr Kumar flagged that ease of doing business needs to be increased for PSUs so that they can compete with its private peers.

The MoS was given a guided tour of ONGC DUB premises in Delhi
The MoS was given a guided tour of ONGC DUB premises in Delhi

Appraising the Minister that E&P is a high-gestation business, he said that a discovery today will yield production quite a few years later. CMD mentioned that ONGC has returned Rs 10.5 lakh crore, with a 5,000 per cent Rate of Return, on the Government of India’s investment of Rs 342.85 crore in the organization during 22-year period of 1959-81. Apart from this return, ONGC has also internally invested Rs 4.5 lakh crore for development of its businesses.

The presentation brought out that while India only has 0.25 per cent of global crude oil reserves, it produces 0.84 per cent of global oil production. Similarly, India has a mere 0.69 per cent of global gas reserves and produces 0.62 per cent of global gas production, which is soon to be enhanced by monetization of KG Basin.

MoS along with CMD, Directors and Key Executives during the interaction
MoS along with CMD, Directors and Key Executives during the interaction

During the interaction, the Minister of State evinced interest in several operations of ONGC including offshore deep-water production, research and training. The CMD informed him that the Energy Maharatna has several research and training institutes in Dehradun; Mr Teli expressed interest in visiting the institutes.

The Minister was also informed that ONGC has small gas fields in Offshore Arabian Sea that will become viable with Viability gap funding which is being done nowadays by the government. CMD explained if gas price increases beyond $ 1.79 per mmBtu, many gas fields will become viable and gas production can increase significantly. CMD shared that the current price of LNG is $ 22 per mmbtu.

The presentation on ONGC flagged some issues where intervention from the Minister of State was pitched. On that, the Personal Secretary to the MoS Virendra Mittal, a 2007 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, sought formal notes on the relevant proposals. These issues include:

  • Investment for OPaL turnaround project
  • Approval for setting up a separate gas vertical
  • MoU rating for ONGC
  • Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for starting production from isolated gas fields on Arabian Sea
  • De-allocation of crude oil, which will have big upsides for ONGC

Speaking further, the CMD informed that the Minister that the deepest well has been drilled by ONGC in Bay of Bengal. The MoS was also informed that ONGC is transitioning to clean energy and has reduced carbon emission by 12 per cent. PS to the Minister Mr Mittal asked ONGC to promote these interesting and groundbreaking feats of the organization among the public.

Talking about ONGC’s efforts in developing domestic manufacturers of Oxygen Concentrators, CMD Mr Kumar said when country needed oxygen concentrators, ONGC was chosen for the project by the Government of India. ONGC played a catalytic role in developing eight domestic Oxygen Concentrators manufacturers. “Now, India manufacturers are making Oxygen Concentrators and even exporting them, thanks to the support of ONGC. It is a matter of satisfaction and pride.”

CMD speaking during the interaction
CMD speaking during the interaction

During his presentation, Mr Gupta informed that E&P business amounted for 99 per cent revenue of ONGC till 2001-02. “However, ONGC started diversifying its portfolio in Refineries, LNG, Services, Power, Petrochemicals, started fast-track value chain integration through investment in horizontal and vertical services. ONGC Videsh Limited also started production in 2003, securing nation’s energy security through overseas partnerships. Now, revenue inflow is balanced between Upstream Oil and Gas: Refineries: Value-Chain in a 1:1:1 ratio, ensuring natural hedging,” he reasoned. The digitization roadmap for future was also presented. The initiatives towards the same including -- Upgradation ERP platform, DCOE, virtual way of working and digitization of vendor management system, which increased ease of doing business for vendors were presented.

Corporate audio-visuals were played during the interaction with the Minister of State, showcasing the rich history and numerous achievement of the Energy Maharatna over the years.

Presentation by ED Corporate Planning & Head Strategy Rajarshi Gupta
Presentation by ED Corporate Planning & Head Strategy Rajarshi Gupta

After the presentations, the Minister of State said that he gained a lot of knowledge from ONGC today. “Though I knew about onshore oil industry, I look forward to knowing more about offshore”, he said. Mr Teli also conveyed his happiness and appreciation on the scheduled offshore visit, suggested by the ONGC CMD, to familiarize the CEOs of downstream PSUs like IOC, BPCL, HPCL, on the nuances of offshore oil production. He also expressed his eagerness to have first-hand experience of the Offshore field of ONGC.

Senior HR Executive Shruti Rangakumar made a presentation on the CSR initiatives of ONGC
Senior HR Executive Shruti Rangakumar made a presentation on the CSR initiatives of ONGC

Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal talked about the unique nature of ONGC operations and asked that employee welfare needs to be seen that light. She explained that Exploration and Production business is different from downstream, as people in this field lead a more difficult life and need to remain motivated to withstand the tough E&P work environment. She also talked about various welfare policy of the organization and mentioned that more than 43 per cent employees of ONGC are less than 40 years of age and look forward to a good career in front of them.  Accordingly, ONGC has created a talent pipeline for making ONGC future ready. Seeking the Minister’s support in ONGC proposals to the DPE regarding these, Dr Mittal said that the observations of the Minister have inspired all. “We feel satisfied that we are being heard”. In her vote of thanks, she thanked the Minister of State, his Personal Secretary and officials from his office for visiting ONGC office and interacting with ONGCians. She reiterated that ONGC works to maximize exploration and production so that India moves towards energy sufficiency and added that the organization will continue to remain committed to its goal and improve further under the Minister’s able guidance.

Director (HR) during vote of thanks
Director (HR) during vote of thanks

Speaking during the interactions, Director (Exploration) RK Srivastava, talked about the isolated gas fields and sought support from the government for the development. He also explained the spread of offshore assets and basins and the difficulties of offshore operations, especially in the Bay of Bengal. On enquiry from the Minister, he informed about various levels of exploration in different basins of the country.

Talking about the maturing wells during the interactions, Director (Technology and Field Services) Om Prakash Singh informed everyone that there is a natural decline in oil production due to decrease in pressure and water cut increase owing to the aging of producing wells. Responding to a query from the Minister on the impact of ONGC research and training institutes in the sector, Director (T&FS) mentioned that its Institute of Drilling Technology (IDT) trains global E&P personnel.

Director (Onshore) Anurag Sharma talked about Gojalia Pipeline Project, which has been completed and the produced gas is being monetized now. Talking about challenges faced by the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that movement to the remote oil & gas fields during the pandemic was a big challenge. “However, we managed to keep production up for the nation.”

Bio-bubbles were first experimented by ONGC for movement of offshore crew in May 2021. Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar said that ‘Operation Nishtha' was a unique feat by the organization for ensuring safety of employees during crew change. Speaking of CSR initiatives, he mentioned that ONGC started CSR before government mandated it. He also talked about upsides of isolated gas fields, for which the top management of ONGC sought Viability Gap Funding from the Government of India.

Later, Mr Teli said that he will be visiting North-East India on 24 September 2021 to converse with all the Chief Ministers of north-eastern states and resolve any issues pertaining to the Oil and Gas industry. The MoS said that he will also speak to Nagaland and Assam to try and resolve the border disputes between the two states.

Minister along with CMD and Directors
Minister along with CMD and Directors