Bold, audacious steps to be taken to meet Vision 2050: ONGC CMD at Upstream Ahead summit

On Day 2 of the pioneering Upstream Ahead summit ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker stressed on the need to intensify production and exploration and take bold steps in the pursuit to reach the 50% demand by 2050. Mr Shanker noted that the targets of 2050 are achievable but there is a need for focused approach in collaboration with all stakeholders from both the industry and the ministry.

The second day of the Upstream Ahead summit was enriched with high intensity discussions and solution-based dialogues on several issues pertaining to mapping a roadway to Vision 2050. ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker, Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal, Director (T&FS) Om Prakash Singh and stalwarts from the petroleum industry and ministry deliberated upon key issues to sustainably reach the targets of Vision 2050.

CMD Mr Shanker spoke in detain on the future of exploration and production sector of India and the challenges and outlook of Indian E&P sector. The high-intensity discussion was joined by eminent experts of the industry and ministry like MoPNG Secretary Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary (Exploration) MoPNG Amar Nath, Dy CEO Cairn Oil & Gas (Vedanta Ltd), CEO ExxonMobil, MD HOEC and CEO Antelopus Energy, CEO Oilmax Energy.

E&P Vision for 2050

ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker noted that there is huge untapped potential in the unexplored areas. He stated that while several areas still remain unexplored, there are valid reasons for that like the lack of availability of enough data or at many places no data. However, he asserted that, with help from the government, major amount of data are now available.

ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker deliberating on E&P Vision for 2050
ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker deliberating on E&P Vision for 2050

“ONGC has taken strategic decisions to focus on the unexplored areas. With collective efforts, we can turn the table with new and advanced technology induction,” said Mr Shanker.

Mr Shanker said that the key to reach the targets is to enhance exploration and production, while intensifying focus on carbon management. He urged all stakeholders to undertake exercises field-wise, benchmark fields and reach there.

Joint Secretary (Exploration) Amar Nath highlighted on the need for enhanced production. He noted that only 25% of the country’s offshore and onshore potential have been discovered; of which only 30% have been monetized.

Mr Amar Nath said that there should be more efficient use of resources like bio-gas, e-charging, etc. Stating that the operating models mostly used by the industry are based on the Western European structure, he said that it is not necessary that will be effective for India.

CEO ExxonMobil William Davis said that big challenges will be on the roadway to reach the targets set to be reached by 2050.  Mr Davis noted that it is high time to unlock the hydrocarbon potential of India. Noting that inaccessible areas should be focused on, he urged for better availability of data for better exploration opportunities. “To help better exploration, there should be contract stability, compensation in full value and better ways for dispute resolution.”

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Stating that deep water can be a big time transformation opportunity, Mr Davis said the deep water jobs will require multi-dollar investments. To ensure easy flow of investments, he stressed on the need to take investor protection measures.

Managing Director of Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOEC) P Elango said that in oil and gas business, survival can only be through being optimistic. He noted that every field discovered till now has produced more than what was initially expected – which depicts the country’s potential.

Mr Elango suggested for better collaborations among nations, “even private sectors, market sectors should work collaboratively in a much more efficient manner”. Noting that various companies have varied ranges of experts in several domains, Mr Elango said that there should be segmentation.

Antelopus Energy CEO Suniti Bhat emphasized on the need for the inclusion of technology providers in core discussions like this as they will be key players to reach the targets of 2050. He also urged industry leaders to motivate young people to join the industry as they will be playing pivotal role in long-term goals.

The first edition of the Upstream Ahead summit, held on 11 – 12 February 2020, provided a platform to key stakeholders to come together and discuss challenges and roadblocks, with a focus on finding solutions for a smooth way forward to a better and sustainable energy future. On Day 2 of the summit, deliberations and high-intensity discussions were made on issues ranging from core business challenges to gender diversity and youth in the energy sector.

Gender Diversity and inclusion in energy sector

ONGC Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal highlighted that while deliberations are being made on Vision 2050, there is a need to focus on gender diversity and inclusion in the E&P sector. She noted that this is the right time to come up with measures to bring in more women in the industry.

Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal speaking on Gender Diversity at the E&P sector
Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal speaking on Gender Diversity at the E&P sector

Noting that the number of women in the E&P sector in India is significantly low, Dr Mittal stressed that to bring in more women in the industry better positions should be provided. She mentioned that there are only around 13% women in the Board level and the numbers should go up to 30%.

Dr Mittal said that while the common perception is that the energy sector is male dominated, the situations are now improving. She noted that ONGC, in the last six years, has inducted around 100 women employees each year.

Director (HR) asserted that all organizations across the industry have been taking several initiatives to include more and more women. Mentioning the initiatives taken by ONGC, Dr Mittal cited the new designs of the dangris for women employees in offshore bases. She said the new dangris, designed in collaboration with NIT Ahmedabad, were introduced in January 2020 to make women employees more comfortable to work on long shifts. Dr Mittal also mentioned that the energy major has also introduced a webpage on POSH at the employees internal portal for better safety and protection of women employees.

Director (Finance) MRPL Pomila Jaspal said that other than technological and regulatory challenges, security is another core challenge for women employees, especially in remote bases. However, she asserted that over the year the scenario is getting better and more women are now having the confidence to join the sector.

Director (Finance) MRPL Pomila Jaspal
Director (Finance) MRPL Pomila Jaspal

Ms Jaspal stated that organizations are taking more initiatives now to facilitate women in the industry, especially for those working on field. She mentioned that facilities like child care, transport, etc. for working parents are dedicated to help them maintain work-life balance.

CHRO Vedanta Ltd Madhu Srivastava took disruptive interventions to improve women ratio from 9 to 17 percent in one stroke. Former Director (Finance) OIL R S Borah Gender said equity adds significant value in a company’s brand image. Director (Diversity & Inclusion) KPMG Zainab Patel said steps for gender inclusion need to move beyond statutory compliance. Some reforms done in Asia Pacific needs to be adopted by India.

Indianization & Self-reliance

ONGC Director (T&FS) Om Prakash Singh, who was also the chairman of the session on 'Indianization & Self-Reliance - Aatmanirbhar Bharat', underlined that the summit is the vision of E&P sector for the next three decades.

He said that the energy consumption of India is set to be more than double by 2050 and expressed confidence that Petroleum and Power industry will play a vital role in meeting the country's energy demand. Mr Singh said that in the Energy and Power sector, there is no or minimal impact even in versatile conditions.

Director (T&FS) OP Singh at the session on self-reliance
Director (T&FS) OP Singh at the session on self-reliance

“EP sector is working to generate employment opportunities and fulfill our requirements indigenously. The government has also initiated several policies in this direction,” he said.

Mr Singh lauded the effort behind making India the second-largest manufacturer of PPE kits after China during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Singh said that in the case of Covid vaccine, India has not only initiated the world's largest vaccination program but has also started helping neighboring nations.

After hearing all the participants, Director (T&FS) concluded the session and said, “There is enough capability within country to support Atmanirbhar Bharat. This is true for EP sector as well. There is only a need for clear intent and willingness of local industry to support this initiative.”

ONGC Director (Onshore) Anurag Sharma, making the closing remarks, said that India is moving towards becoming the third-largest economy by 2030. He said that the energy consumption of a growing India is expected to surpass all expectations. “Fulfilling the growing consumption demands hinge upon finding new resources,” he said.

Director (Onshore) Anurag Sharma delivering the concluding remarks at the closing session
Director (Onshore) Anurag Sharma delivering the concluding remarks at the closing session

Asserting that oil and gas will remain relevant for several decades to come, Mr Sharma said that the efforts of the energy sector need to be focused extensively on exploration and exploring unexplored basins. In this line, he also underlined that ONGC recently put the country's 8th producing basin, Bengal Basin in Ashokenagar, on the nation’s oil map. He also noted that India is expected to have more renewable energy sources by 2050.

Delivering the valedictory address, Joint Secretary (Exploration) MoPNG Amar Nath said that the first edition of the summit is just the foundation stone for something even bigger for the energy sector. Mr Amar Nath suggested that the monitoring to review and make the deliberations actionable should constitute 50 members, divided in different segments. He further proposed inclusion of 50% youth and 50% women in the monitoring committee.

Joint Secretary (Exploration) Amar Nath delivering the valedictory address
Joint Secretary (Exploration) Amar Nath delivering the valedictory address

“There should be more number of young members since long term vision with transformational objective will require people with longer stay. Also, gender diversity should play a pivotal role in our pursuit to meet the targets,” said Mr Nath.

The first edition of the Upstream Ahead summit witnessed the participation of over 7000 attendees from across the industry and ministry. A monitoring group of eight members has been constituted. The second edition of the summit is scheduled to be held on 11-12 February 2022.