Mumbai: Seven public sector oil companies—Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Gail India Ltd, Oil India Ltd, Engineers India Ltd and Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd—are coming together to launch a Rs.100 crore start-up fund shortly, said three officials who are part of the process.
All the seven companies will be pitching Rs.10-20 crore each to create the fund. The fund will be used to foster, nurture and incubate new ideas related to the oil and gas sector.
“So far seven public sector companies are part of the Rs100 crore start-up fund. The fund is being set up under the aegis of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas,” said the first official mentioned above.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity as they are not allowed to speak to the media.
On similar lines, on 14 August, ONGC unveiled a Rs.100 crore start-up fund called ONGC Start-up, in line with the government’s ‘Start-up India’ initiative.
As part of this initiative, ONGC will provide the entire support chain for start-ups including seed capital, hand-holding, mentoring, market linkage and follow-ups. ONGC is setting up a dedicated website for this initiative.
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“This initiative would promote entrepreneurship among younger Indians by creating an ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of start-ups in the oil and gas sector, which has a huge potential for technology-enabled ideas,” ONGC chairman and managing director Dinesh K. Sarraf said on 14 August.
The start-up fund by the seven PSUs is being driven by the oil ministry and could either be housed in the ministry or each company will have a office for the fund, the second official mentioned earlier said. “The structure and investment policy is still in the works. Discussions are on at the board level of respective companies. Something concrete would take shape by November-December 2016,” said the official.
The PSUs are planning to target engineering and petroleum institutes to fund start-ups where they say they would be able to find technology and innovation relevant to the energy sector.
“We plan to reach out to the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and NITs (National Institutes of Technology). The start-ups we plan to invest in, would be selected on the basis of relevance, innovative solutions in matters of refinery, new technologies in pipeline transportation, LPG etc where we are facing issues and where we can seek help from outside,” said the third official from a public sector company.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on 6 September urged the PSUs to create start-up funds on the lines of private sector in order to promote innovation and nurture new ideas in the energy sector.
“I am advising my CEO friends in PSUs that if Ratan Tata can put his private funds for start-ups and if Narayana Murthy can do that for new start-ups then why cannot you (do that),” Pradhan had said.
All oil PSUs plan to invest and provide financial partnerships to new start-ups engaged in exploration and production and downstream activities.