ONGC having second thoughts on Mittal joint venture

Mumbai: NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is worried about the fate of his joint venture with the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC). Mittal is reported to have informed the Government of India about delays at ONGC-end in getting ONGC-Mittal Energy Services Ltd (OMESL), going.

OMESL, set up during the tenure of its erstwhile chairman, Subir Raha, was to acquire oil and gas properties as also trade and ship oil and gas (including LNG), industry sources said. But, following the exit of Raha, ONGC has reversed several decisions of the MoU between the two.

While ONGC has refused to depute its employees to OMEL, it has also reversed the decision to open an office in Delhi. ONGC also recently cancelled interviews for recruitment of professionals to OMEL.

Mittal''s letter to the government has cited delays on the part of ONGC to register oil companies with OMESL, which is delaying the start of trading in crude oil and petro products. Mittal is now looking to global giants like Chevron, Exxon Mobil for an oil-trading venture.