NEW DELHI: Director general of hydrocarbons, SK Srivastava, will take charge as chairman of OilIndiaon Tuesday, ending a tumultuous two-year tenure in which he blamed Reliance Industries for the fall in natural gas output from the D6 block and faced criticism for backing out of crucial meetings.
Srivastava held the view that natural gas output in the D6 block had fallen sharply because Reliance Industries had not drilled as many wells as it had committed in the field development plan. He did not accept the company’s contention that output fell because of unexpected geological complexities inIndia’s first deep-sea gas field.
As the DGH, Srivastava also head the D6 block’s Management Committee, which oversees the affairs of the block and approves key decisions and budgets.
The block’s budgets have not been approved for at least two years, creating uncertainty about its development work.
The DGH had also sternly objected to Reliance Industries’ proposal to survey the entire D6 block instead of doing it in a piecemeal manner. Srivastava had agreed to allow a survey only of those discoveries for which the field development plan was approved, but the company said it would save a lot of money if the vessel was used to survey the entire block instead of mobilizing the vessel repeatedly. The ministry finally approved RIL’s plan.
Srivastava, however, fancies himself as pro-industry and claims credit for the BP-Reliance and Cairn-Vedanta deals. “DGH as a technical arm and advisor to government can take full credit of playing a positive yet impartial role in facilitating clearances of the deals. I am sure these two deals which got finalised during my tenure as director general will go a long way in creating a better investment climate for Indian and global players,” he said in a message on the organisation’s website.
While industry officials blame Srivastava for delaying decisions and shunning responsibility, government officials say he was being cautious because his controversial predecessor VK Sibal was charged by investigative agencies for allegedly mismanagement of the country hydrocarbon sector.
The DGH is involved in running oil and gas fields and inviting investors in the New Exploration Licensing Policy.
His successor has not yet been announced, but there are many contenders from state-run OilIndiaand Oil and Natural Gas Corp.