Oil firms revamp discussed

New Delhi: The exercise for the restructuring of state-owned petroleum companies took off yesterday with the advisory committee set up for the purpose holding its first meeting. The government has given the committee nine options though they are free to consider more.

Briefing reporters, committee chairman V Krishnamurthy said the government had given a time-frame of two months but they would like some more time to submit the report.

Besides Krishnamurthy, who is a member of the National Advisory Council and a former chairman of Steel Authority of India, others who are part of the committee are G K Arora, f BC Bora, former ONGC, chairman, Vijay Kelkar, former finance ministry advisor, GV Ramakrishnan, former disinvestment commission chairman, and U Sundarajan, former BPCL chairman..

The restructuring will keep in mind the goal of strengthening the public sector set by the common minimum programme, said Krishnamurthy.

The aim would also be to make them efficient and more competitive domestically and internationally. The committee would also identify structural changes and suggest measures for managerial autonomy.

Among the options to be considered is to have a single mega company instead of the present six oil and gas companies. There could also be two or three companies through vertical integration. Besides, there is the option of having two separate companies for downstream and upstream sectors.

Petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, later in his briefing said there could also be one or more holding companies concentrating only on core competencies while their subsidiaries do other businesses.