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Higher output boosts ONGC net 84 pc

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Jan. 31

OIL and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) recorded a turnover of Rs 7,588 crore and a net profit of Rs 2,593 crore for the third quarter of the current fiscal ended December 31, 2002. This corresponds to a 35 per cent rise in turnover and an 84 per cent rise in net profits over the corresponding period in the previous year.

Under pressure from the Finance Ministry, the company has declared a dividend of 170 per cent. Since the Government is an 84.1 per cent stakeholder in ONGC, the former will net Rs 2,039 crore.

During last year's Budget, the Government had allowed a flat subsidy of Rs 4,500 crore on sale of kerosene and LPG. However, the actual bill is higher by Rs 2,200 crore.

Interestingly, the Finance Ministry had sought Rs 2,700 crore in last October when the scheme was undergoing finalisation.

ONGC's improved performance is due to increased production of 1.05 million metric tonnes of crude oil and 0.21 billion cubic metres of natural gas. The dismantling of the Administered Pricing Mechanism on April 1, 2002, has raised ONGC's realisation on crude oil.

During last fiscal, ONGC was realising a flat $16 per barrel as against a provisional pricing of $22 per barrel during this fiscal. On conclusion of the crude offtake and supply agreement with the oil refiners, ONGC will earn market prices for crude oil with retrospective effect from April 1, 2002, hence further boosting its bottomline.

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