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Mittal's oil foray: India lends helping hand
Ammar Zaidi in New Delhi | July 18, 2007 14:38 IST
Lakshmi N Mittal is literally getting a helping hand from the government for his ambitious diversification from steel making to oil refining.
Mittal is getting a senior bureaucrat from the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to run his first-ever venture in the refining business, the Rs 18,919 crore (Rs 189.19 billion) Bhatinda refinery.
Prabh Das, joint secretary (Refineries) in MoPNG, is likely to join Guru Gobind Singh Refinery Ltd, the company implementing the 9 million tons refinery project in Punjab, as chief executive officer.
"He is a good and capable man. We thought he can be of immense help in completing the much delayed project," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora told PTI.
Das, a 1981 batch Indian Administrative Service officer from West Bengal cadre, will go on deputation to the project that was first conceptualised over a decade ago and is now slated for completion in 2010-11. Das last week made a flying visit to London for a pre-assignment meeting with Mittal.
"Mittal (who was last month allowed to pick 49 per cent stake in GGSRL, the same as Hindustan Petroleum) is coming to India later this month and we plan to go to Bhatinda to review project progress," Deora said.
Das, 50, is an electrical engineer and holds an MBA degree and has been looking after the refineries wing in MoPNG since March 2003. His five year term with Centre is to expire next year.
Deora said Mittal's investment in Bhatinda is the single largest foreign direct investment in the refining sector and his coming on board has helped the project take off.
The balance two per cent stake is with financial institutions.