ONGC has chosen to pursue growth despite the fall in oil prices, bucking the global trend of reduced investment. Domestically, EOR activity across the mature portfolio has continued and new deepwater projects are moving ahead, encouraged by Indian pricing reforms. Internationally, ONGC has led its Asian NOCs peers through a counter-cyclical approach to M&A, acquiring a 26% stake in Vankorneft (Russia).
The near-term outlook is now stronger, but falls short of corporate production targets. We expect more M&A, and calculate that ONGC has the capacity for US$7 billion of deals before gearing reaches 35%. Longer-term production targets are also ambitious and ONGC will struggle to achieve them through deal activity alone. The company will have to make some tough decisions on total spend and capital allocation between its domestic and international portfolios.
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