Govt advises ONGC to get international partners in Mumbai High, Bassein fields: Minister

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli said national oil companies are free to choose field-specific models including farm out (giving stake) and joint venture/technical service model for enhancing production from their matured and aging fields. The government, he said, is keen that the domestic production of oil and gas should increase exponentially.

“The government has, from time to time, advised ONGC to increase exploration and production by having partnerships for its major fields including Mumbai High and Bassein & Satellite asset with the scope of enhancing recovery and technology infusion.” Teli was replying to a question about ONGC giving away 60 per cent stake and operatorship of the nation’s largest oil and gas producing fields.

Amar Nath, additional secretary (exploration) in the Ministry had on October 28 written a three-page letter to ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Subhash Kumar, saying productivity of the Mumbai High and Bassein & Satellite (B&S) offshore assets under the state-owned firm was low and international partners should be invited and given 60 per cent participating interest and operatorship.

The proposal has met with strong resistance from the management of ONGC as well as its unions who feel its assets are being given away on a platter to the private sector.

“As per reforms in exploration and licensing policy for enhancing domestic exploration and production of oil and gas, issued in 2019, national oil companies are free to choose field-specific models including farm out and joint venture/ technical service model for enhancing production from their matured and aging fields,” he said. The minister said ONGC officers have written to the ministry against the recommendation for giving out a stake in Mumbai High and B&S assets. “However, ONGC being managed by the Board and a listed company is required to consider the view points from the perspective of various stakeholders including from the officers’ unions,” he added.

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