ONGC Videsh hires lobby firm in US, files registration

ONGCPatton Boggs LLP has submitted its registration with US Senate for lobbying on behalf of ONGC Videsh Ltd. (Reuters)

ONGC Videsh Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of public sector giant Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has hired a specialist lobbying firm in the US to present its case before the American lawmakers.

The lobby firm, Patton Boggs LLP, has submitted its registration with the US Senate for lobbying on behalf of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), shows the Congressional records of lobbying disclosure reports.

The current and anticipated 'specific lobbying issues' on which Patton Boggs would work for OVL are "issues related to ONGC Videsh oil and gas operations in India and future focus on US oil and gas market", says its registration filing submitted to the Senate's lobbying database on April 4.

The firm has named two persons, Anurag Varma and Daniel Waltz, who would work as lobbyists for its client, OVL.

Late last year, another energy major from India, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) terminated its registration for lobbying activities in the US. Prior to that, Mukesh Ambani-led RIL had lobbied for years in the US through its then lobby firm, BGR.

BGR also lobbies on behalf of the Indian government in the US, but it has not yet made its disclosure for the first quarter of 2013.

OVL's lobby firm Patton Boggs has worked for clients like Lloyd's of London, Halliburton, AO Smith Corp, Air France - KLM, Amazon.com, Bristol Myers Squibb, EADS North America and Facebook.

For ONGC Videsh, the primary business is to prospect for oil and gas acreages abroad, which includes acquisition of oil and gas fields in foreign countries as well as exploration, production, transportation and sale of oil and gas.

OVL earlier used to operate on a small scale to carry out limited exploration activities in few countries like Iraq, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Tanzania, but it started expanding in a major way from late 1990s with overseas acquisitions and exploration activities.

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