Companies & Sectors
ONGC has to show some results—faster!

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has blasted ONGC for not being able to focus on its prime responsibility of exploration. ONGC, charges CAG, has the lowest drilling efficiency compared to its peers!
It has been reported in the press that state-owned exploration and refining major ONGC proposes to spend some Rs15,000 crore to drill 480 wells during the 2012-13 period, the highest number in the last 17 years. Out of this, nearly 100 wells have been drilled so far, according to its Director of Technology, UN Bose. However, no discovery has been reported, so far from these wells.
Although ONGC has not released details, it appears to have made a big discovery off the nation’s western coast. Whether this is part of the 415 wells drilled in 2011-12 is not known yet, and the target of 480 wells for this fiscal is likely to achieved without much difficulty, as both indigenous and imported (service  providers) equipments are used. The 415 wells drilled in the last fiscal cost Rs13,000 crore.
ONGC has not yet identified its new Japanese partner in developing its block in the east coast.  In the NELP VI (sixth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy), ONGC has been awarded 11 deepwater blocks on the east coast. Despite the fact that ONGC has vast experience in exploration and production, the CAG report has emphasised that the company was not focussing on core exploration activities, while new entrants were more successful.
It may be noted that the ONGC’s east coast discovery is the deepest gas find made in the country so far, more details of which are awaited.
At the moment, what is most important is that ONGC's production comes from the ageing fields and Bombay High offshore only. Therefore, there is the urgent and imperative need to strengthen its exploration and research technology to venture into the unknown and discover the much-needed hydrocarbon resources for the country.

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US. He can be contacted at [email protected].)


Government lifts ban on bulk SMSes, MMSes

The restriction on sending more than five SMSes in one go and more than 20 KB of data through mobile phones came into force on 17th August


New Delhi: The government on Thursday withdrew the ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes which was imposed to check spread of rumours related to the violence in Assam that led to exodus of people hailing from the north-eastern states from Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune, reports PTI.

The decision was taken after the social unrest that gripped various parts of the country due to the rumours generated through SMSes, MMSes and web contents reduced in last few days, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

The restriction on sending more than five SMSes in one go and more than 20 KB of data through mobile phones came into force on 17th August. On 23rd August, the government increased the number of SMSes to 20 per day.

The restriction was put in place after reports of widespread circulation of SMSes and MMSes containing misleading information about the Assam violence, threats to people of north-eastern origin living in other parts of the country and doctored videos.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too had said that spread of rumours by miscreants had led to people hailing to the northeast flee from Bangalore, Pune and other parts of the country.


Underlying demand in the Indian automobile sector remains weak, says Nomura

Growth in the car segment will be impacted by the Manesar lockout at Maruti while sales in the two-wheeler segment is likely to remain weak, says Nomura

Nomura Equity Research believes that underlying demand still remains weak across all segments in the auto sector, except UVs (utility vehicles), where demand is quite robust driven by new launches and customer preference towards diesel vehicles. Nomura expects that there will be around 20% growth in M&M’s (Mahindra & Mahindra) auto segment volumes driven by about 37% growth in UV volumes. 
Volumes in the MHCV (medium and heavy commercial vehicles) segment are expected to decline by around 10%-12%, with a 6% decline in the cars segment and around 7% growth in the 2-wheelers segment. Further, Nomura expects that M&M’s tractor volumes will decline by around 6% y-o-y (year-on-year) in August 2012. 
Growth in car segment to be impacted by Manesar lockout
Nomura expects that the car industry volumes will decline by around 6% y-o-y (year-on-year) in August 2012, largely due to the lockout at Manesar, which is likely to impact volumes by around 30,000 units. Retail demand continues to remain weak. Most companies are offering discounts on diesel models, as well. According to Maruti Suzuki India’s (MSIL) management, retail volumes for the company are likely to be flattish in August 2012. It is expected that there will be a 19% y-o-y decline in domestic volumes for MSIL. Nomura expects around 57% growth in car volumes at Tata Motors, largely due to higher Nano sales.
Two-wheeler segment remains weak
Nomura expects around 7% growth in the two-wheeler industry volumes in August 2012 driven by strong growth at Honda Motorcycles (about 50% growth) driven by capacity addition and new launches. For listed companies; it is expected that domestic volumes will increase by about 2% y-o-y for Hero MotoCorp, volumes will decline by 5% for Bajaj Auto and about 15% decline in volumes for TVS. For Hero MotoCorp, there could be downside risk in volume estimates if the company lowers dispatches in order to reduce inventory levels, says Nomura. 


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