Setting out his agenda, the newly appointed Chairman and Managing Director of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Sudhir Vasudeva, on Tuesday announced that he would put in place a strategy that would fast track the development of new oil and gas fields to raise the sagging output and help the prestigious oil and gas explorer regain its premium status.

Mr. Vasudeva, whose appointment as ONGC chief was cleared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, in his first media interaction with journalists said he was of the strong view that new and marginal fields could help raise crude oil production by about 15 per cent to 28 million tonnes by 2013.

Having been without a full-time chief for over eight months, ONGC has chalked out a plan that would see natural gas production to rise to 100 million standard cubic metres a day by 2016-17 from the current 62 mscmd.

Regretting that ONGC had lost the position of the world's number one exploration and production in Platts' global rankings and the nation's most valuable company because of a drop in production, Mr. Vasudeva said his first focus would be the core activity of exploration. “We will have no stone unturned in revisiting the exploration strategy,'' he added.

He said ONGC planned to invest Rs.26,000 crore in developing 34 small and marginal fields, which would yield some five million tonnes of crude oil. “After accounting for the natural decline that has set in ageing and old fields, we will be able to touch 28 million tonnes per annum by 2013-14,'' he said. At present, the company is producing about 24.5 million tonnes of oil annually.

He said the fields in the Daman formation off the West Coast could alone yield 15 mscmd. Also, gas discoveries in the ONGC's KG-D5 block, next to Reliance Industries' prolific KG-D6 gas fields in the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the East Coast, could produce 25-30 mscmd.

Mr. Vasudeva said the company would prepare a long-term perspective plan that would lay out the road map for the company not just in the hydrocarbon sector, but also in alternate energies and nuclear power.

He said ONGC would try to advance the target for 20 million tonnes of oil and oil-equivalent gas production abroad from 2020. Its overseas subsidiary ONGC Videsh already produces 9.5 million tonnes of oil and oil-equivalent gas from 16 properties abroad. But the biggest concern, Mr. Vasudeva said, was the manpower attrition.

Out of the company's workforce of 33,000 officers and workers, 7,000 are retiring in the next five years. ONGC will hire 1,000 officials every year to bridge the shortfall. The average age of employees at ONGC is 49 years.

He said the fundamentals of the company were strong and ONGC was getting generous support from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry. “Technology is not an issue today. Technology is available at the doorstep, it is not at all a constraint,'' he said.

Keywords: ONGC Chairman

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