1985 – 1995
Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC)
1996 – 2014
CEO & Whole Time Director
Cairn India Ltd.
2015 – Present
Elango is a veteran in the upstream Oil & Gas industry with over 30 years of experience. He has held several leadership roles and has created a number of firsts as a Business Leader. He is recognised in the Indian Oil and Gas sector as someone who has a strategic mindset and a winning determination. Elango holds a Master’s degree in Management and was a nominee for the coveted Platt awards.
We caught up with Mr. Elango Pandarinathan for a chat. Below, is the excerpt of the interview with him.
How long have you been with HOEC?
I joined in February 2015 and it has been an exciting 50 months!
What makes HOEC a special place to work for you?
HOEC enjoys the legacy of being the first private Oil & Gas company of India. Once helmed by iconic personalities like the great visionary and Founder, the late Shri. H.T. Parekh, and the late Dr. I.G. Patel, legendary economist and Former Chairman, HOEC has only gone from strength to strength. I see it as a great privilege to lead this company to a bright future from a glorious past.
Which projects have been the most meaningful to you? Why?
In my career spanning nearly 35 years in the Oil and Gas industry, I have been fortunate to be associated with various teams in: (i) Selling “First Gas” from Narimanam field (Cauvery Basin) while at ONGC; (ii) Driving the production up from 3000 to 60000 bopd in Ravva offshore field; (iii) Discovering and delivering “First Gas” from Lakshmi gas field in a record 28 months; and (iv) Discovering and delivering “First Oil” from Barmer Basin, the largest onshore world-class discovery that now delivers over 25% of India’s oil production. However, above all, Project KOPOU in Assam that all of us at HOEC executed together to deliver “First Gas” from Dirok in 27 months, will remain my personal best. I say this because it was executed against all odds, in the most challenging circumstances, by a group of determined people with a do-or-die attitude.
If you weren’t in this profession what would you be?
Traveling by bus to primary school made me want to be a bus conductor. Later in my life, seeing white coats in hospitals made me dream of becoming a doctor. Soon after that, I wanted to be a lawyer when I graduated with a degree in English Literature. I finally ended up at ONGC after completing my MBA. Ever since then, I have always wanted to remain an oilman for the fascinating life that it offers.
Since you began your career, what’s changed the most about the Oil & Gas industry? Similarly, what has changed the least?
When I began my career in 1985, India was meeting more than 75% of its oil requirement through domestic production, whereas now it imports more than 75% of its requirement. This is a big change that should not have happened. On the bright side, the spirit of adventure that permeates through the Oil and Gas industry globally has not changed one bit.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
My brother-in-law, who was a banker and my role model during my college days, advised me “to see everything in both, business and life, from the perspective of people”. This has allowed me to empathize more, connect with people better, and to deal with challenges calmly and confidently.
English Literature – MCC
MBA – Annamalai University