New Delhi, Oct. 17: Oil PSUs Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum will not be divested in the current fiscal as the Union Cabinet is likely to take up the issue for discussion only by the year end.
However, the disinvestment process of Balmer Lawrie, Engineers India Ltd and other companies scheduled during this fiscal will not be hampered by this decision, sources said.
“Evaluation and other formalities normally take a year. It will not be possible to finish the process of disinvestment of the two PSUs within this current financial year,” said petroleum secretary B.K Chaturvedi.
Earlier, petroleum and natural gas minister Ram Naik said the Union Cabinet would take a decision on the disinvestment of oil sector PSUs by December. Last month, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced that the government would look into the matter after three months.
Taking stock of his ministry’s performance, Naik announced an investment of Rs 25,000 crore for oil capacity addition of 24 million tonnes at three refineries — Bina in Madhya Pradesh, Paradip in Orissa and Bhatinda in Punjab. This will be undertaken over a five-year period.
The Centre has also signed contracts for the exploration of six coal bed methane (CBM) blocks in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. Contracts for two more such blocks will be signed soon.
Naik said, “We have finalised deals to award 70 blocks for exploring oil in the country. These have been allocated in three rounds under the new exploration licensing policy (NELP).”
Commenting on the performance of ONGC Videsh, Naik said the company was in the final stages of signing a deal with governments of Sudan and Libya. Under the agreement, the Indian oil company will invest about Rs 3,750 crore to get a 25 per cent stake in the oil fields of Sudan and two oil fields in Libya.