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View from the top: Looking through the lenses of Indian oil CEOs

India CEO series

By Sambit Mohanty

Russian oil giant Rosneft and global trading house Trafigura in August closed a $12.9 billion deal to buy out India's Essar Oil - marking the single largest foreign direct investment ever made in India.

A month after, S&P Global Platts had the chance to meet the new CEO of Essar Oil, B. Anand to understand his vision for the company and get his views on the political and economic climate that India currently provides for companies to contemplate future investments.

He summed up his views in one sentence: "The reason we came in to invest $13 billion is because of the efforts and the direction of reforms brought in by the government. It has been very encouraging to see the reforms."

Anand was one of several Indian oil and gas corporate leaders that Platts met in a span of little more than week - CEOs, chairmen, managing directors and presidents -- both in the private sector and state-run companies.

The discussions were around the opportunities and challenges in store for India's oil and gas sector in the years to come. Summing up, it was hard to find a single corporate leader who was not optimistic about the country's oil and gas demand growth prospects.

Click the links below to read the interviews in full:

Clean fuels, petrochemicals figure in HPCL's growth roadmap
"India is a bright spot for oil and gas demand, compared with other parts of the world, and therefore, we have to be ready for that."
-Mukesh Kumar Surana, Chairman and managing director, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd.

Cairn moves into top gear as growth reaches 'inflection point'
"We are aiming for a capital expenditure of $3 billion over the next three years. I don't want to put a timeline by when we can achieve those production and reserve targets, but it's certainly a vision that we have and we are working hard towards that."
-Sudhir Mathur, CEO, Cairn India

BP eyes India's "molecules, markets and minds" to push growth
"We believe in the potential of India. India offers the 3 Ms -- molecules, markets and minds. We want to produce the hydrocarbon molecules to supply the growing energy market using Indian minds and also developing India's skills base."
-Sashi Mukundan, Regional President and India Country Head, BP

ONGC steams ahead with oil, gas output revival despite low crude prices
"I would say the worst is over for us and we are in for some good times. This will be the first year after, say after 6-7 years, when both crude oil and gas production will show recovery simultaneously."
-Dinesh K. Sarraf, Chairman and Managing Director, Oil and Natural Gas Corp.

Essar Oil eyes bigger slice of the pie in retail sector
"The Indian growth story so far has revolved around the metros or the big cities. But the government is taking a lot of initiative to develop smarter cities, and energy will become core to that. So how one reaches closer to consumers in those areas will be quite important for us."
-B. Anand, CEO, Essar Oil

India's IOC pens growth roadmap with energy game changers in mind
"We are preparing not only our existing refineries, but whatever new projects we are building, we are building in capability to have a lot of flexibility in order to meet the challenges of the future."
-Sanjiv Singh, Chairman, Indian Oil Corp.

S&P Global Platts India CEO Series: Mukesh Kumar Surana, HPCL | Sudhir Mathur, Cairn | Sashi Mukundan, BP | Dinesh K. Sarraf, ONGC | B. Anand, Essar Oil | Sanjiv Singh, IOC

Interviews in this series were conducted and first published by S&P Global Platts in September 2017, except for the IOC interview which was conducted and published in November 2017.

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