Prior to his joining as Director (Onshore) on June 19, he was heading ONGC's Eastern Offshore Asset at Kakinada, where he was instrumental in putting the Eastern Offshore Asset on production.

"Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India vide letter dated June 19, 2014, has appointed Ashok Varma, as Director (Onshore), ONGC," the company said in a filing to the stock exchange.

Earlier, Varma steered Imperial Energy in Russia, a subsidiary of the ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), as the Chief Executive Officer and played an important role in the Sakhalin project in Far East Russia.

The post of Director (Onshore) had been lying vacant since October 2012 when AK Hazarika super-annulated. Government headhunters PESB had K Sataynarayana, Group General Manager of ONGC, to fill the vacancy but he could not get clearance from anti-corruption watchdog CVC.

The Ministry then forwarded the name of Varma for clearances from anti-corruption agencies. After his name was cleared, it was forwarded to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister.

New Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan concurred with the appointment and ACC cleared Varma for the ONGC job.

Varma is the first board level appointment cleared by the new government in a bluechip oil PSU.

Appointment of B Ashok as Chairman Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is pending with Pradhan even as the nation's largest firm is being run with ad-hoc charge to one of the directors after RS Butola superannuated on May 31.

A graduate in Petroleum Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, Varma joined ONGC in 1977 as Assistant Engineer at Assam.

He was posted to OVL, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, between 1996 and 2006 and was instrumental in acquisition of 20 percent participating interest in Sakhalin-1 project in Russia in 2001, an ONGC statement said.

Varma headed ONGC's Assam operations as Asset Manager from 2006 to 2009.


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