The government will soon set in motion the process for selecting new chairmen and managing directors for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), whose heads are scheduled to retire early next year.

The Public Enterprise Selection Board (PSEB) will hold interviews to select the next Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of ONGC on October 19. Current incumbent R. S. Sharma retires on January 31, 2011, on attaining the superannuation.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry sources said that among those in the fray are: Sudhir Vasudeva, Director (Offshore), ONGC; D.K. Saraf, Director (Finance), ONGC; and R. S. Butola, Managing Director, ONGC Videsh. Acting Director General of Hydrocarons S. K. Srivastava and OIL Director (Exploration) B. N. Talukdar have also applied for the job. Mr. Butola has been credited with giving a new direction and shape to India's energy security by securing prolific oil and gas assets in various countries which have benefited the oil-starved nation in a great manner.

In addition to this, an application from the private sector has been made in shape of Ravi Narayan Bastia, a former ONGC employee, who quit in 1996 to join Reliance Industries (RIL) and now wants to return back to ONGC. At present, Mr. Bastia is senior Vice-President heading exploration operations in RIL and will have to fight it out with his former colleagues in ONGC and the petroleum sector to make the cut.

The PSEB will hold interviews to select the new Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on September 29.

Once again, Mr. Butola and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Director (Refineries) R. K. Singh are among the 17 candidates in the fray for the top job at the nation's largest oil firm.

The vacancy for IOC Chairman arose after the government declined an extension of service to Sarthak Behuria till his superannuation age in 2012. B. M. Bansal, Director (Business Development), was appointed acting Chairman till a permanent candidate was selected.

The PSEB will also hold interviews to select Chairman and Managing Director for BPCL on September 28.

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