ONGC-Shell deal to add fuel to India’s oil sector investments

India’s oil and gas sector is all set for a billion dollar partnership with India’s biggest energy company Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and global major Royal Dutch Shell getting ready to announce a co-operation in oil and gas exploration and production (E&P), oil refining and marketing of petroleum products in India.

ONGC and Shell India have already held several rounds of discussions for stitching together a partnership that will not only announce Shell’s entry into India’s exploration sector after 16 years, but also help ONGC emerge as a leading player in the downstream oil refining business in the years to come.  “The partnership covers vast areas from E&P to refining to downstream marketing of petroleum products… going forward you may also see the two companies invest in setting up a new world class refinery complex on the west coast and subsequently expand their presence in retailing fuel,” said sources. An announcement is likely next month, “As Shell is entering late into India’s E&P sector, they want to make up for the lost time by joining hands with ONGC in exploring oil and gas in India,”  said Sudhir Vasudeva, chairman and managing director, ONGC. “Other than collaboration in exploration of oil and gas, we (ONGC) may join them for expanding in the downstream sector as their expertise is well known with Shell Global solutions.

While Shell has a presence in the fuel marketing side with 70-odd petrol pumps spread across the country, ONGC also has a fuel marketing license and approvals to set up more than 1,100 petrol pumps in the country.  However, following the subsidisation of diesel, companies are waiting for a free and competitive regime to sell petroleum products in India.

Chief executive women officer of Shell Companies in India, Yasmine Hilton, the only woman CEO in India’s oil and gas industry, had also shared her company’s intent to re-enter the oil and gas exploration sector and make fresh investments in India.