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Cash reserves sliding, ONGC trims exploration and development works.

A steady fall in cash reserves at state-owned ONGC, a key player in India’s crude oil and natural gas production landscape, has coincided with the upstream major being forced to pare investments in exploration and development. The trend, which has been sharply pronounced since FY18, comes at a time when the Centre is seeking to boost domestic production to reduce dependence on imports.

ONGC’s cash reserves are down from Rs 10,799 crore at the end of FY14 to Rs 968 crore at the end of FY20, largely on account of acquisitions of controlling stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and majority stake in Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation’s (GSPC) KG Basin gas block in FY18. The upstream utility’s expenditure on exploratory wells too fell sharply from Rs 11,687 crore in FY14 to Rs 4,331 crore in FY20, according to company data.


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