Talking business amid the ongoing marines row between the two nations, Italian ambassador to India Daniele Mancini has sounded New Delhi on the "perceived wrongdoings" by state-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) in a contract to procure oil and gas rigs. OIL is India's second-largest oil and gas exploration company after Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).
The estimated value of OIL's contract is around Rs. 250 crore, said sources.
In a recent letter to Union petroleum minister Veerappa Moily, Mancini had stated that OIL was understood to be assigning a contract for two oil and gas drilling rigs to another company, despite the Italian company, DRILLMEC S.P.A - owned by Italian Engineering Multinational Trevi Group - having qualified twice as the lowest bidder, a requirement for the contract.
"As DRILLMEC is alleging that this outcome might stem from discriminatory practices, I would be grateful if you could look into this issue as a matter of priority in order to ascertain the truth and ensure that the reputation of Oil India and the legitimate interests of a globally respected company are not damaged," Mancini told Moily.
When contacted, Moily's office confirmed receiving the letter and said the minister had already sought details on the same.
OIL's management, however, denied any wrongdoing and set aside the charges being levied against the oil and gas major.
The Italian ambassador said in spite of DRILLMEC's compelling offer that enabled it to qualify for two consecutive times as "lowest bidder", "there is a concrete and imminent possibility that the contract might be assigned to a different company."