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Updated: December 16, 2010 23:25 IST

Cairn CEO Bill Gammell meets Pranab, Deora

Special Correspondent
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Sir Bill Gammell, Chief Executive, Cairn Energy. File photo: Shanker Chakravarty
The Hindu Sir Bill Gammell, Chief Executive, Cairn Energy. File photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Seeking to push through the Cairn-Vendanta deal and get Government's approval on fast track, Cairn Energy CEO Bill Gammell met the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Murli Deora, and top officials to garner support for the $9.6-billion deal.

Mr. Gammell, on his third trip to India since announcing a prospective deal to sell up to 51 per cent stake in Cairn India on August 16, also met T. K. A. Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, and Petroleum Secretary S. Sundareshan.

In town since Tuesday, Mr. Gammell has also met Mr. Deora. ``It was a courtesy call. I told Mr. Gammell that we will take a decision on giving approval to the deal on merit,'' Mr. Sundareshan said after the meeting. He said by February-end, the government should be able to decide whether Cairn Energy could sell its majority stake in the Indian unit to a firm with no experience in the oil sector.

Indian hydrocarbon law makes it mandatory for companies to have prior experience in order to secure a lease for exploration and production of oil and gas and the Petroleum Ministry will need to satisfy itself that Vedanta, a mining major with no oil sector experience, can satisfactorily operate Cairn's oilfields.

After having maintained that the Cairn-Vendata deal was only a corporate transaction and did not need government approval, the company was forced to re-tract its stand and formally apply for approval on November 23. “They have applied with some conditions. We are accepting it and processing it,” he said.

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