The government has from time to time advised ONGC to have partnerships in its major fields including Mumbai High and Bassein & Satellite assets off the west coast with a view to raising output and technology infusion, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
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.
“ONGC being the leading organisation has to play an important role,” he said. “The government from time to time advises 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 the government asking ONGC to give away a 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.
Teli said the area under exploration has to be increased which would subsequently lead to more new discoveries in the country. And at the same time, production from existing fields has also to be optimised and increased wherever possible by employing advanced technology, drilling more production wells, wherever technically feasible, and better management.
“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.