ONGC has taken a difficult but sensible decision. It has finally shelved plans for a new 15m tonnes/year refinery and petrochemical complex at Mangalore. The project had been facing considerable resistance from the local population. In addition, questions were being raised on the viability of the project.
The sharp change in the global business environment since last year probably forced ONGC to reconsider the project. But the decision also suggests that the company may no longer be keen to extend its focus beyond oil exploration and production. Mangalore is the second refinery project that ONGC has shelved. In June 2008, the company had said that it would not participate in a refinery project at Kakinada on the east coast of India.