The government on Tuesday entrusted Ajay Prakash Sawhney, who is additional secretary in the petroleum ministry, with the charge of chairman and managing director of PSU explorer Oil India.
Sawhney would, however, hold the Oil India top post only for three months starting June 1, as per a government order issued on May 30.
The move comes after the incumbent chairman and managing director of Oil India, U P Singh, also additional secretary in the petroleum ministry, was transferred to the ministry of water resources.
Oil India has been without a full-time head after three failed attempts by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) to find a chairman and managing director for the government-run explorer. The post could not be filled after Sunil Kumar Srivastava, CMD, retired on June 30 last year.
A panel headed by a Cabinet secretary had held interviews last month for the post, the results of which have not been made public.
Oil India, a much smaller player compared to ONGC, has seen its crude output falling for fourth straight year in the last fiscal. OIL’s crude oil production in FY 16 was 3.245 million tonnes (mt), 6% lower than in FY15.
In fact, in FY16, OIL saw the decline in production from its older fields at a steep 20%. This, according to sources, was unexpected as the estimated drop in output was around 15%. Industry watchers are of the view that poor reservoir management coupled with the failure to start production from new fields is leading to the continuous fall in OIL’s output.
At a time when PM Modi has called for efforts to reduce India’s oil imports by at least 10% in the next five years, OIL’s output has fallen by about 16% since FY12. The last increase in output was reported by the company in FY12 when it produced 3.847 mt of oil, 7.3% higher than in the previous year.