Public sector oil cos suffer poaching

Written by Agencies | Sibsagar, February 26: | Updated: Feb 26 2008, 15:53pm hrs
As the oil sector has opened up to private players in a big way, the public sector giants like the ONGCL and the OIL have suffered a severe shortage of skilled manpower having become the happy hunting ground for efficient hands.

Thanks to globalisation, the private sector companies in the oil sector have in a way revolutionised the oil industry, but have also triggered a drain of their best brains. The situation has worsoned recently.

In fact, the crunch in the availability of efficient technical hands in the oil industry is a global phenomenon and many countries look up to India for a steady supply of young and skilled professionals.

The public sector giants in the country have emerged as a favourite training academy of sort. An entry-level young hand is trained for not less than five years, the general secretary of the working committee of the Association of Scientific and Technical Officers-ONGC), Gaurav Das, said.

He said that besides Indian private companies multinationals based in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Britain and Malaysia have regularly poached on the oil PSUs. The private companies offer pay packages in the range of Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh annually, Das said.

One such worker, who wished not to be named, recently joined `Saudi Aarmeo', the world's largest oil company, after being in the payroll of ONGCL. He said that besides the money factor, there was the professional and healthy work environment in the multi-national companies as well that had resulted in the large-scale migration of skilled workers from the PSUs.

The ONGCL since its inception in the late 1950s has been continuously involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas with a profit of Rs 15,000 crore the last financial year marking itself as the undisputable leader in the oil sector, Das said.

The company has three on-shore bases in Nazira (the largest in the country), Jorhat and Silchar contributing a large chunk to the company's profit, he said. Das said that his association had approached the central government as well as the top brass of the ONGCL recently to do something to stop the brain drain.

The Association also urged the government to consider pay revision and incentives, performance related rewards and also draw out employee retention formulae, besides pointing out sophisticated state-of-the-art technology in drilling and exploration being the need of the hour as were adequate safety measures.

Stating this was expected to soon result in the revamp and restructuring of the oil exploration major's policies towards its employees, Das felt that a healthy work environment was a must to stop the outgo.

ONGCL authorities said that its employees were provided with laptops and mobile phones as incentives which in turn have helped improve operations. A Rs 2000 crore `Assam Renewal Project' was in the pipeline for upgradation of the oil rigs, changing old oil pipelines, renovating employee quarters and redevelopment of colonies for improvement of efficiency of skilled workers and overall working condition, the authorities said.