Former oil secretary Tarun Kapoor, present and former chairmen of ONGC and a former director of IOC, are among over a dozen people who have applied for the top job at the oil and gas regulator, PNGRB, sources said.
Kapoor, who superannuated as Secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas last month, is the most prominent name in the list of 13 persons who have applied to become the chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) chairman and managing director Subhash Kumar and his predecessor Shashi Shanker are also in the race and so is G K Satish, who superannuated as Director for Planning and Business Development from Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) a couple of months back.
Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) managing director Saumendra Kumar Barua and Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) managing director Asit Kumar Jana too have applied, two sources with direct knowledge of the development said.
Others in fray include Virendra Nath Datt, OSD to chairman of GAIL (India) Ltd, former CPCL MD Surendra Nath Pandey, ex-BPCL executive director Anadee Nath Misshra and IOC executive director Gopal Chandra Sikder.
The 13 applications came in response to the government re-advertising the post of chairman, PNGRB last month.
This followed selection of former power secretary Sanjeev Nandan Sahai as the head of the regulatory body being nixed.
A search committee headed by V K Saraswat, member (S&T), Niti Aayog, had picked up Sahai -- a 1986 batch IAS officer who retired as secretary in the ministry of power on January 31 this year -- in June.
His selection was, however, not confirmed by the government, and the post has now been re-advertised.
Sahai hadn't applied for the job, and his name did not figure in the list of candidates that the panel sent out invites for interviews in May.
His name was added just a couple of days before the interview.
The committee -- which also comprises secretaries to the ministries of oil and commerce, secretary legal affairs and economic affairs secretary -- had in June interviewed 8-9 candidates, including the ones who had applied and those panel members thought were suitable and invited.
The name of the candidates selected was sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for decision.
Sources said the selected names were returned without approval, following which the post was re-advertised.
Other candidates interviewed on June 2 included retired bureaucrat Avinash Kumar Srivastava, former ONGC chairman Shashi Shanker and former ONGC director Sanjay Kumar Moitra.
The post of chairman, PNGRB, has been lying vacant since December 4, 2020, when Dinesh K Sarraf completed his three-year term.
The Board, which comprises four members besides the chairman, is almost defunct with just one serving member.
Former GAIL directors Gajendra Singh and A K Tiwari are presently the two members of the PNGRB board.
Photograph: Angus Mordant/Reuters