The All Assam Students Union (AASU) has firmly opposed privatisation of ONGC’s Geleki field, amid strong indications that the Petroleum Ministry is keen to hand it over to Schlumberger.
ONGC sources told Northeast Now that Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield service company listed in Fortune Global 500 and working in 85 countries, is very keen to take over the Geleki oilfield through a Production Enhancement Contract (PEC).
Schlumberger emerged as the sole bidder in a tender floated by the ONGC to boost Geleki’s oil production.
Sources in the know of the negotiations say Schlumberger is projecting a 26-27 per cent decline in base production in next few years and has sought several deviations in tender norms for infusing technology to raise output over this base.
The Modi government has been pushing ONGC to hire international oil service companies to raise output from its mature oilfields as it saw the foreign companies as the answer to declining production from ageing fields.
But the AASU says it will not accept handing over of Geleki to any private operator.
On August 28, the AASU organised a 100-hour blockade in Nazira, the eastern headquarters of the ONGC, to protest any move to privatise Geleki.
The blockade was called off after a request from the DC to facilitate work on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), then in its final stages in Assam.
“Geleki is one of ONGC’s most productive fields and it is the backbone of our economy,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi told the media.
Gogoi said the new ONGC asset manager Sanjiv Kakran has assured them that the Geleki field will not be given to Schlumberger.
“But we want a public statement by the ONGC which has not yet happened,” said Gogoi.
He clarified that the AASU was “not against the privatisation of marginal fields but Geleki is too important.”
But indications from the Petroleum Ministry points to the contrary.
“The tender was floated with the avowed objective of boosting oil output and Schlumberger emerged as the only bidder. The ONGC can refuse change in the terms of the PEC but not deny it if Schlumberger accepts hem,” a senior ONGC official said, but on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief media.