ONGC names reserve auditors ahead of share sale

ONGC names reserve auditors ahead of share sale

New Delhi: State-run India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), the country’s top oil explorer, has appointed two auditors to quantify its oil and gas reserves ahead of a planned share sale, chairman RS Sharma said on Wednesday.

“We have appointed D&M (DeGolyer and MacNaughton) and Gaffney, Cline & Associates as reserve auditors two weeks back to value our reserves," Sharma said.

He said ONGC, which has about 150 oil and gas fields, may not ask the two firms to audit all of them as that would take six to eight months.

The state-run firm usually gets its reserves audited every five years, but is doing so after three years because of its planned share sale, Sharma said. India has approved a 5% stake sale in ONGC that is expected to raise as much as $3.2 billion.

“My hunch is that it (share sale) may not happen this year ... but we will be ready by the fourth quarter (of the current financial year)," Sharma said.

The share sale will be part of a government plan to sell stakes in about 60 state-run firms over the next few years, as India moves to cut a stubbornly high fiscal deficit and garner funds to spend on schemes for the poor.