Mittal recalls its two remaining employees from ONGC joint venture

Mumbai: ONGC-Mittal Energy Services Ltd, the joint venture set up by state-run ONGC and steel magnate Lakshmi N Mittal for oil and gas trading has almost ended, with the latter absorbing the remaining two employees, including the CEO, into his group.

ONGC-Mittal Energy Services chief executive S K Sharma along with the only other employee at OMESL, is joining Mittal Investment Sarl, the Luxembourg-registered holding company of Mittal family, industry sources said.

OMESL, one of the two joint ventures Mittal had formed with ONGC in July 2005, is also shutting its Delhi office.

ONGC was not keen on trading and shipping of oil and gas (including LNG) and Mittal had never been happy with the progress of the joint venture. ONGC had not even contributed its share of capital and the company has been surviving on Mittal''s contribution.

A government director on the board of ONGC had also blocked its equity participation in OMESL as the petroleum ministry did not want the state-run firm to make huge financial outlays for non-core trading business.

Mittal has since signed a preliminary pact with Total of France for cooperation in oil and gas business, including trading. Mittal Investment has, meanwhile, taken a 49-per cent stake in HPCL''s Bhatinda refinery and Russian oil firm Lukoil''s 50 per cent stake in Caspian Investments Resources for $980 million.