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Friday, 3 January 2014

128) Celebrating 50 years of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in 2006: Commemorative Fifty Rupees and Five Rupee coins issued by the Reserve Bank of India/India Government Mints:



128) Celebrating 50 years of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in 2006:

Commemorative Fifty Rupees and Five Rupee coins issued by the Reserve Bank of India/India Government Mints:

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) founded on 14.08.1956 is an Indian Government owned oil and gas Company with its Headquarters in New Delhi, India. It is one of the largest Asia-based oil and gas exploration and production companies which accounts for about 84% of India’s domestic production of oil and natural gas.

ONGC today, is the World’s second largest E & P (Energy & Production Company) and has been ranked among the World’s leading Companies by Forbes Magazine, Fortune Global 500, Economic Times 500, Business Today 500, Business Baron 500 etc. It has to its credit more than 310 hydrocarbon finds within the country and has discovered almost 6 billion tones of in-place oil and gas reserves in India.

Historical Development of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC): The growth and consolidation story:

During the British Raj, the Assam Oil Company in the North-East and Attock Oil Company in the North-West Regions of unpartitioned India were the only oil producing Companies in the country with practically very little exploration for augmenting the oil and natural gas resources.

In 1947, after India gained Independence and Pakistan was carved out of its territories, it was realized that the importance of oil and Natural Gas exploration cannot be undermined if the country was to bring about rapid industrial development and the country’s defense requirements. As such, the development of the petroleum industry in India formed a vital initiative in the Industrial Policy Statement of 1948.

Until 1955, under the Industrial Policy initiatives, private oil companies spearheaded the exploration of hydrocarbon resources of India. In Assam, the Assam Oil Company produced oil at Digboi while the Oil India Ltd. (a 50-50 joint venture between the Government of India and the Burmah Oil Company) was tasked with developing two newly discovered large oil-fields Naharkatiya and Moran in Assam. In West Bengal, around the same time, the Indo-Stanvac Petroleum project (a joint-venture between Government of India and Standard Vacuum Oil Company of USA) was handling oil-field exploration work. The huge sedimentary tracts in other parts of India and adjoining off-shore locations was largely unexplored.

In 1955, under the policy to develop oil and natural gas resources in the hitherto unexplored Regions of India an Oil and Natural Gas Directorate was set up to function under the Ministry of Natural resources and scientific Research. This Directorate was strengthened by appointing several geoscientists taken from the Geological Survey of India.

A delegation from India went abroad to several European countries to study the development of oil industry there and to facilitate training of Indian professionals in the area of exploration of potential oil and gas reserves. Simultaneously, several foreign experts from countries like the USA, West Germany, Romania, USSR etc. visited India for giving valuable inputs to the Indian professionals.

In 1956, mineral and oil industry was categorized as Schedule “A” industries, whose development rested solely with the State. To facilitate this policy initiative a two-pronged strategy was adopted:

The Oil and Natural Gas Directorate was elevated to the status of a Commission on 14.08.1956 with enhanced powers, although it stayed under the control of the Government.

The task for drawing up detailed guidelines/plans for geological and geophysical surveys and drilling operations was undertaken by Russian experts and their detailed plans were set into motion during 1956-1961.

Still later, in 1959, the Commission was converted into a statutory body by an Act of the Indian Parliament and its powers were enhanced further by outlining the activities and steps which were required to be taken by the Commission in fulfilling its objectives. At this juncture the Oil and Natural Gas Commission was engaged in planning, promoting and implementing programmes related to development of Petroleum Resources as well as production and sale of petroleum and petroleum products produced by it.

During 1961 to1990, the ONGC expanded its operations and has been instrumental in spreading its activities throughout India and abroad. Domestically it unearthed new resources located in Assam, established a new “Oil Province” in the Cambay basin in Gujarat, added new petroferous areas in the Assam-Arakan Fold Belt and the East Coast Basins (both inland and off-shore).

In the early 1970s, ONGC discovered a giant oil field named “Bombay High” (now called “Mumbai High”). This important discovery along with several other subsequent discoveries led to an estimated 5 billion tones of hydrocarbons to be discovered in India. During this period, ONGC transformed itself into a self-reliant Organization and its core competence in Exploration and Production activities scaled newer heights so as to enable it to become globally competitive.

In 1991, the Government of India, under a liberalized economic policy regime, began deregulation and de-licensing of the core sectors, including the petroleum sector, with partial disinvestments of Government equity in Public Sector Undertakings along with other measures. ONGC was converted into a public limited company in June 1993 and it underwent reorganization as a limited Company under the Company’s Act, 1956 in February 1994. Also, in 1994, following the Indian Government’s decision to privatise ONGC, the Government of India’s holdings of ONGC assets was reduced to 80 percent and the remaining 20 percent was sold to the public. 

After the conversion of business of the erstwhile Oil and Natural Gas Commission to “Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd., the Indian government disinvested another 2 percent of its shares through competitive bidding. ONGC also expanded its equity through offering 2 percent shares to its employees.

In 1999, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL – the only gas marketing Company) came together to cross-hold each other’s stock, leading to a long-term strategic alliance both for the domestic and overseas business opportunities in the energy value chain, amongst themselves. After this reallocation of shares and other divestments, the Government holding in ONGC now stands at 74.14% percent.

ONGC today is focused on maintaining high standards of occupational health, safety and environmental protection and has well equipped crisis management teams. It has institutionalized Research and Development in exploration and production (E & P) and related sectors and established seven separate institutions to undertake specific activities in key areas of exploration , drilling, reservoir management, production technology, ocean engineering etc.

ONGC is presently involved in exploring for and exploiting hydrocarbons in 26 sedimentary basins of India and owns and operates over 11000 kilometres of pipelines in India.

ONGC Videsh (Videsh meaning “foreign countries”):
Hydrocarbons India Private Limited (incorporated on 5th March 1965) was renamed as ONGC Videsh (OVL) on 15th June 1989, a subsidiary of ONGC. OVL earned its first hydrocarbon revenue from its investments in Vietnam.

Today, OVL has grown into a leading Company in India – both in terms of oil production and oil and gas reserve holdings, with at least 18 overseas operations in over 15 countries including in Latin America, Middle-East, CIS and the Far-East, and Africa.

Commemorative coins issued by Reserve Bank of India/India Government Mints:
In 2006, ONGC celebrated the Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary) of its founding and a commemorative coin set comprising Rs.50/- (Rupees Fifty) and Rs5/- (Rupees Five) was issued by the Government of India/India Government Mint, Kolkata. Thus ONGC became the second Company after State Bank of India (commemorating its bicentenary in 2006) to have Commemorative coins issued celebrating its creation. In the same year, five rupee coins were also issued for general circulation.

Commemorative coins Proof set:


The above image is that of the cover of the two coins Proof set issued by the Kolkata Mint.




The above is an image of the back of the above coin album.


The emblem of the ONGC carried on several pages of the album as well as the coins.


Obverseof the two coin set –Rupees Fifty and Rupees Five as they appear together on the coin album. On the left periphery of both coins is mentioned “Bharat and Rupiye” (in Hindi) and on the right periphery of the coin is mentioned “India” and “Rupees” (in English). The Asoka Lion Capitol emblem of the Government of India is in the centre of the two coins below which is mentioned “Satyameva Jayate” (meaning “Truth always Prevails” in Hindi). The denominational value of the coins is mentioned in numerals only “50” and “5” respectively.

Obverse of the individual Rs.50/- quaternary silver coin.


Obverse of the individual Rs.5/- coin.

Reverse of the two coin set as they appear together on the coin album. On the upper periphery of both the coins is mentioned “CELEBRATING INDIA” (in English) and on the lower periphery is mentioned “UTSAVRAT BHARAT” (in Hindi). Towards the centre is mentioned “ONGC 50” with the logo of the ONGC placed in the numeral “0” forming the numeral “50”. Further below are the commemorative years of the ONGC “1956-2006”.


Reverse of the individual Rs.50/- quaternary silver coin.

Reverse of the individual Rs.5/- coin.

The specifications of the coins are as under:
 Fifty Rupees:
Shape & outside diameter: Circular, 39 mm; No. of Serrations: 180
Weight: 22.5 gms; Metal Composition: Quaternary Alloy: Silver: 50%, Copper: 40%, Nickel: 5%, Zinc: 5%.
Five Rupees:
Shape & outside diameter: Circular, 23 mm with security edges; No. of Serrations: 100
Weight: 9 gms; Metal Composition: Cupro-Nickel Alloy: Copper: 75%, Nickel 25%.

Circulation coin:



Obverse of a five Rupee circulation coin in my collection showing the same features as the five rupee Proof coin.




Reverse of the above five rupee circulation coin, also showing the same features as the proof coin on this face.
The specifications of this coin are the same as the specifications of the five rupee Proof coin.
Posted on  11.03.2015:
A First day cover issued on 14.08.2006 by India Post commemorating the golden Jubilee of setting up the ONGC.




(The Commemorative Proof coin set is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The five rupee circulation coin is from my collection, contributed by Krishna Tonpe. The First Day Cover issued by the P&T Department, India is from the collection of Rahul Kumar. Coins scanned and Article researched and written by Rajeev Prasad)

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