ONGC, IOC, OIL consortium wins oil block in Venezuela

These state-run Indian companies will develop the Carabobo-1 block in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt with Spain's Repsol and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and its partners Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) have won a bid to develop a major crude oil block in Venezuela, ONGC’s first major overseas success since the Imperial Energy Plc acquisition in 2008, reports PTI.

The state-run Indian companies will develop the Carabobo-1 block in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt with Spain's Repsol YPF SA and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bdh, ONGC said in a statement.

An official said the group will pay $1.05 billion to Venezuela as signing amount and will initially invest another $9 billion in developing the block that can produce 400,000 barrels of heavy oil per day (20 million tonnes per annum). Total spending on the block over 25 years would be $9 billion. Besides, the consortium would also extend some credit to Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA), which would hold 60% interest in the project.

Venezuela yesterday announced the winners of two of the three Carabobo blocks it had auctioned last month.

The Latin American nation gave out 40% stake to international firms, the largest oil investment in President Hugo Chavez's 11-year rule.

Chevron Corp will develop the Carabobo-3 block along with Mitsubishi Corp, Inpex Corp and Suelopetrol CA of Venezuela after paying a signing amount of $500 million.

A third oil block in the Carabobo area of the Orinoco will be assigned at a later date.


India's business confidence level rises 7% to 153.8 points, says survey

The NCAER-MasterCard Worldwide Index of Business Confidence survey was conducted amid growing consensus that India had emerged rather quickly from the effects of the global crisis

Business confidence levels in India have exceeded the October 2009 levels by 7%, according to the latest National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)-MasterCard Worldwide Index of Business Confidence. The current Business Confidence Index (BCI) rating of 153.8 points, compared to the October 2009 rating of 143.7 points and July 2009 rating of 118.6 points, is also the highest rating recorded since January 2008 (154 points), it said in a release.

“The latest NCAER-MasterCard Worldwide Index of Business Confidence study has captured the upbeat economic climate in India, which is now almost close to the positive ratings during early 2008," said TV Seshadri, vice president and country general manager, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide.

He said that the survey was conducted amid growing consensus that India had emerged rather quickly from the effects of the global crisis. Being a quarterly study, the BCI provides stakeholders with valuable insights on business expectation, political confidence and trends across the four regions in India.

The Index is based on a survey which measures business confidence on four indicators relating to ‘Overall economic conditions six months from now’, ‘Financial position of the firm six months from now’, ‘Investment climate’ and ‘Level of capacity utilisation’. All four indicators carry equal weight.

The improvement in business sentiment based on the four components has been observed across all regions in India except in the East, where it fell by a relatively small 2.9 points or 1.82%, compared to the previous quarter.

Amongst all four regions, the West had a maximum proportion of respondents providing positive feedback for the ‘Overall economic conditions’ indicator, revealing an optimism about an improvement in the overall economic conditions and investment climate over the next six months. The West showed the highest increase (13.84%), followed by the North (7.4%) and the South (6.65%).

The Political Confidence Index (PCI) in the current round witnessed a 16.5% decline compared to a 4% decline in October 2009. This could indicate a weak correlation between the BCI and the PCI. There was a significant drop in PCI from 144.4 points in October 2009 to 120.6 points in the current round, the survey said.

The current survey reflected a declining trend in the ratings of all eight components of the PCI over the last quarter. Four components that showed steep decline include, managing of government finance (52.1 to 43.1 points), managing of inflation (41.4 to 28.4 points), managing of unemployment (37.9 to 29.7 points), and managing a conducive political climate (46.6 to 37.7 points).

The remaining four components that continue to decrease are trade negotiations (both bilateral/ multilateral) (42.0 to 35.9 points), pushing the economic reforms forward (46.6 to 42.8), managing overall economic growth (63.8 to 56.3 points) and managing exchange rate (35.4 to 31.2 points), the NACER-MasterCard survey said.  



My Problem is... Who Cares?

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves is going to come to our rescue and that we will live happily ever after. Nowadays, one can only hope against hope

The recent events related with Mumbai and Maharashtra have left me thinking over my real problems, completely ignored by everyone, including myself.

Does the release of Shah Rukh Khan's movie, the so-called 'rada' (ruckus) created by the Shiv Sena and more importantly, the Indian Premier League (IPL), which kick-started the recent events make any difference to my day-to-day life in Mumbai? Even the fight over Marathi and Hindi... does the common man really care for it? I don’t think so.

Take for example—I, along with a few lakh (65 lakh-70 lakh) people spend about three-four hours every day travelling in an overcrowded local train. Every day, some fellow commuter falls down while getting into a train, some even lose their life. Similarly, those who travel by car and bus have to tackle the daily traffic jams at some bottleneck or signal. This pathetic and tiring travel leaves everyone with little energy to bother about the non-related issues mentioned above. This is the condition of all people from Mumbai, including Marathis and others, whether they travel by local train or any other vehicle. Do you think anyone—the railways, SRK, Shiv Sena or even Rahul Gandhi, who travelled in a Mumbai local during non-peak hours—cares? I have my doubts.

Second, the daily life of common people, particularly those of us staying in Mumbai, has become vulnerable. Nobody can assure Mumbaikars (residents of Mumbai) that he or she will return home intact. Life is always under threat in Mumbai. Most of the times, the threat is from terrorists, but sometimes even political parties do this job (terrorising people) with ease.

However, there is hardly is any security for a common Mumbaikar. Security of cinema theatres is most important for the ruling Congress-NCP state government.

Third, inflation is eating away a major chunk from my earnings and has left me with little or no savings. Everyday, prices of some essential item are going up just like our age, which never declines. Political parties, film heroes or the TRP-crazy media—nobody has the time to look into these problems.

In its recent monetary policy review, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has indicated that sustained increase in food prices is beginning to spill over into other commodities and services as well. While the RBI has pegged GDP growth at 7.2%, agricultural input is likely to decline by 0.2% from last year’s growth of 1.6%. Compare this to the fact that almost 60% of the country's population is dependent on agriculture—which again depends mostly on seasonal rains and still faces challenges like drought and floods—and you have a pitiable scenario.

The agriculture ministry was supposed to boost production of food material through innovative research and development. However, recently, we found the Union minister for agriculture Sharad Pawar in a row over his accurate predictions about sugar and milk prices. We are not averse to price increase, but the real question is, does the farmer who produces sugarcane and supplies milk get his dues? How much share does he actually receive from the hike? No one, including all mentioned above is interested. Everyone—film heroes, political parties and the media—tries to lure the common man for buying, watching and supporting their causes, but nobody really cares for his daily worries and struggle to survive.

As far as the recent ruckus over non-issues is concerned, this is nothing but the race to survive. Shah Rukh Khan wants to prove that he is a bigger star and his movie can earn more than his (rival?) Aamir Khan’s '3Idiots'. Shiv Sena, caught up in a drowning syndrome—courtesy Raj Thackeray—is trying to stay afloat while keeping its herd intact. The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra feels that 'All Iz Well' and there is no need to bother to look into the common man's woes, since there is no election in the near term. At the national level, the Congress thinks it can make inroads into Bihar and Uttar Pradesh by raising Mumbai and migration issues.

So keep smiling, do not worry, as nobody has time to care for you and me. If you think there is some energy, or a spark left in you, then shout loudly "All Iz Well".

By the way, do you remember a movie called 'Deshdrohi' that was banned by the Maharashtra government? I watched it on You Tube... and couldn’t stop laughing. It was hilarious. It is a readymade and perfect guidebook for any newbie on how not to make a movie!



K B Patil

7 years ago

I am not a Bombayite. So, I am no expert on Bombay or Mumbai or whatever you want to call it. So, the picture I get of this city is from the media. I remember that in the last general elections, which was just a few months after the attack on TAJ, I would have expected the public to go out in large numbers and vote. Alas, the percentage was less than 50%. Our system makes it easy for the rubbish to come to power. Only if a large percentage of the electorate comes to vote, candidates will have to appeal to a wider electorate. Now, they only have to cultivate a small section and make them vote and these netas come out beaming on results day.

Shadi Katyal

7 years ago

We Indians are the one responsible for what is happening in Mumbai.We kept quite when name was changed and became laughing stock of the world.We let Shiv Sena goons roam the streets and destroy public property.
where was Shiv Sena when Bombay was attacked.
The reason the writer has to travel in such trains,as he chose too and did not ask for more better trains.
we the people are responsible for our problems including security. Look at what Bombay Police is equipped with?
We are a lawless society and thus either dont obey the laws or bend or buy and thus corruption which even our Constitution protects is rampant..
we have created fishers between our religious population and there are no such leader to bring them together.One can blame on Government but who elected them,US
the voters.
Why has infrastructure been the last thing on development whereas it should had been priority.Political parties dont care bhut we must protect ourselves and leace behind CHALTA HAI BHAI


7 years ago

Do we as common Mumbaikars have time to even think about the things mentioned by you. Do I have to remind you that it was the media only that had created the menace. And for your questions, I really feel that I should have known it, but don't since I am just a common man. May be you can put more light on your points, since you seems to know more about it. take care.

amar wadhwa

7 years ago

STOP WRITING HIGH MORAL SOUNDING TIT BITS DEAR. Why were you or media silent when MNS was beating North Indians and destroying their taxis and property.

Why Rane wants ban on SS-what abt ban on Swabhimaan?

Why only members of other than Dawood's gang get killed in encounters?


7 years ago

Yes.Why should anyone bother about common man.Politicians and filmwallas know that the common man is an idiot and can be sold promises , action movies and love stories and that would keep him happy forgetting his daily grind.Who asked common man to rush to the theatres or watch movies endlessly on TV when he is not having proper living comfort -be it commuting facilites,roti,pani,bijlee.Who asked common man to watch cricket matches endlessly either at the stadium or on TV -24/7? It is the common man's drunkedness of watching movies and criket matches that is making criket players,IPL organizers,BCCI,film wallas to mint crores leaving the drunkards(common man) on the streets.Have you seen cooperation among the flat residents?Who is troubling every where? One ordinary middle class fellow -working in a govt office or mobile co or a bank or insurance co or a consumer goods co -always troulbes the other middle class fellow coming for service and vice versa.There is no solution for our problems because we are the problem creaters.The solution lies with ourselves but that will never happen.

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