The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation may be compelled to sell at least two of its golf courses in Gujarat. A Government move that is eyeing the ONGC golf courses in Ahmedabad and Vadodara also has the Bharat Petroleum Sports Corporation Sports Club in Mumbai’s Chembur locality on its radar.
The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has earmarked the ONCG golf courses as “non-core” assets. Business daily Economic Times, citing officials familiar with the matter, has reported that the Government wants to monetise these assets.
DIPAM has identified ONGC’s Ahmedabad and Vadodara golf courses as prime properties for monetisation during a study to assess “non-core” assets of public sector units and other Government departments.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)-owned sports club in Chembur, Mumbai, is also in the list.
At a meeting of officials from DIPAM, Niti Aayog, oil ministry and other departments, the decision to monetise “non-core” assets of ONGC and BPCL was greenlighted. The proceeds will go to the CPSEs, not the exchequer, officials said, because the aim is to rationalise resource utilisation in the public sector, the business daily has reported.
ONGC also owns golf courses in Ankleshwar (Gujarat), Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh) and one in Assam, besides some other sports facilities like a cricket field in Vadodara.
The Ahmedabad and Vadodara golf facilities as well as the Chembur sports club are being targeted first due to their attractive locations.
Officials said monetisation may happen through an outright sale or via a joint venture to redevelop the land. ONGC’s golf courses and BPCL’s sports facility are spread over large parcels of land. Therefore, the hope is that they have the potential to be developed into big real estate projects.
An anonymous senior ONGC executive was reported to be “surprised” at the government’s move. “They (Government) are just looking at it as a real estate play and missing the larger purpose these facilities serve for the company,” the executive has told ET and added that these facilities are among the reasons ONGC can attract and retain talent. He also said identifying “non-core” assets should be the job of the boards of CPSEs.