D K Sarraf takes over as ONGC Chairman

Tags: News
Dinesh K Sarraf today took over as the new Chairman and Managing Director of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), the nation's most profitable company.

Sarraf, 56, replaced Sudhir Vasudeva, who was denied a post-retirement one-year extension of service even though Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily had strongly pitched for it.

Prior to this, Sarraf was Managing Director of ONGC's overseas arm, ONGC Videsh Ltd.

Credited with reviving OVL, which had gone into a slumber following the disastrous acquisition of Russia-focused Imperial Energy in 2009, Sarraf brings to ONGC a no-nonsense approach and an eye for detail.

OVL, which since inception had invested USD 17 billion in 32 assets in 15 countries until 2011, struck deals worth over USD 11 billion since 2012 under Sarraf.

Sources said Sarraf at the close of office hours yesterday drove down to ONGC's corporate office here to greet outgoing Chairman Vasudeva. He warmly hugged Vasudeva and escorted him to his car.

Sarraf this morning officially took charge of the company, they said.

Coming from a humble background, Sarraf took tuitions to help finance his commerce studies at the University of Delhi. Besides holding a master's degree in commerce, he is a member of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

As ONGC head, his immediate task is to raise stagnant oil and gas output and aggressively look for more reserves.

Sarraf was Director (Finance) at ONGC before moving to OVL in September 2011.

Sarraf is credited with helping ONGC win a royalty war with Cairn India. His homework on the Rajasthan contract, where ONGC held 30 per cent of the field and was forced to pay 100 per cent royalty and cess, led to Cairn India in 2011 finally agreeing to pay its share of the levies.

It took him a year to lift the morale at OVL and in September 2012 Sarraf made his first acquisition when the company bought US energy giant Hess Corp's 2.7 per cent stake in Azerbaijan's largest oil field and an associated pipeline for USD 1 billion.

Two months later, OVL announced a USD 5 billion purchase of ConocoPhillips's 8.4 per cent stake in Kazakhstan's Kashagan project, touted as the biggest oil find since the 1960s when it was discovered in 2000.

The bid was, however, blocked by the Kazakhstan government, which wants the stake to go to China.

Last year, he led OVL in two back-to-back deals for a 20 per cent stake in a giant gas field off Mozambique for over USD 5 billion.

OVL also acquired two blocks each in Columbia and Bangladesh and blocked China's Sinochem Group from buying a 35 per cent interest in Brazilian oilfields.

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