After reluctantly agreeing to the requirement of government nod to sell majority stake in its India unit to Vedanta Resources, Cairn Energy CEO Bill Gammell on Thursday called on finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and top government officials to seek support for the $9.6 billion (Rs 43,500 crore as of today) deal.
Edinburgh-based Gammell, on his third trip to India since announcing a prospective deal to sell up to 51% stake in Cairn India on August 16, also met TKA Nair, principal secretary to the Prime Minister and oil secretary S Sundareshan.
Gammell, who has been camping here since Tuesday, also met with oil minister Murli Deora and other top government officials during his three-day visit.
“It was a courtesy call... I told him (Gammell) that we will take a decision (on giving approval to the deal) on merit,” Sundareshan said after the 20-minute meeting. “By February-end, we should be able to decide” whether Cairn can sell its majority stake in the Indian unit to a firm with no experience in the oil sector, he said, adding that the oil ministry has not yet formed any opinion on the transaction. A Cairn spokesperson confirmed Gammell’s meeting but refused to elaborate on the discussions.
Indian hydrocarbon law makes it mandatory for companies to have prior experience in order to secure a lease for exploration and production of oil and gas.