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Updated: February 1, 2010 18:30 IST

ONGC’s former chief Subir Raha passes away

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A file picture of Subir Raha, former CMD of ONGC at the Energy Summit in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V.V.Krishnan
The Hindu
A file picture of Subir Raha, former CMD of ONGC at the Energy Summit in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V.V.Krishnan

Subir Raha, arguably the most influential former chairman of government-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp, died of cancer on Monday. He was 62.

Mr. Raha, who was last year diagonsed with lung cancer, was taken critically ill about a week back and was undergoing treatment at a private hospital here, family and friends said.

He died at around 15.22 hrs.

A workaholic, Mr. Raha is credited with taking ONGC where it is today - the nation’s largest oil and gas producer.

He single handedly drove ONGC’s vertical integration by acquiring Mangalore Refinery (MRPL) and aggressively pursued overseas forays, unseen after his unceremonious exit.

During his tenure as Chairman and Managing Director from May 2001 - 2006, ONGC’s market capitalisation increased more than 10 times to Rs 2,00,000 crore, and became the leader among all public and private sector companies in India in terms of networth.

In a strange coincidence, the year Mr. Raha was denied an extension as ONGC’s boss (in 2006) also saw the company lose its coveted position as the nation’s most valuable company.

Mr. Raha worked with Hinduja Group for a brief before floating Team Raha Ideation — an India-based consulting firm focused on strategic advisory services.

He was on several boards including that of GeoGlobal Resources as independent director and had turned into a columnist writing on energy issues.

Mr. Raha concurrently served as Chairman of the wholly—owned subsidiary, ONGC Videsh (OVL) and was also responsible for the turnaround of the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) in 2003-2004.

From just one property in Vietnam when Mr. Raha took charge, OVL expanded to 24 properties (31 Blocks) in 14 countries.

From a minor reserve base and zero production when he took over as Chairman, OVL became the second largest E&P company of India in terms of reserves and production, next only to parent ONGC.

He led ONGC from a sectoral exploration and production company to become an integrated energy major on global scale, and led ONGC into aggressive exploration, especially in deep waters off India, and achieved increased production from depleted fields.

Prior to ONGC, Mr. Raha served as Director at the Indian Oil Corp (IOC), where he had began his career as a Management Trainee in 1970.

Keywords: ONGCIOCSubir RahaOVL

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