top of page

Subir Raha

Chairman & Managing Director,

Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd - ONGC

I first met the late Subir Raha in 2003 during my professional career.  Unlike bosses of then Public Sector Companies, here was Subir Raha a different man with an entrepreneurial zeal. He always had a very warm smile and it was difficult to see him without his cigar. He proved many sceptics wrong as he steered the government owned oil and gas behemoth into a very valuable asset. I always felt that he was in the wrong place. His entrepreneurial skills would have made him one of India’s top businessmen, but he was a content man with his characteristic Bengali philosophy. He dispelled my notion that people in government are laid back and seldom was willing to swim against the current. Raha was certainly a different kettle of fish. 

After 31 years at Indian Oil Corporation (where he rose from a management trainee to be a member of the board of directors in 28 years), Raha joined Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) in 2001. It was a particularly troubled moment in the company’s history, because rumours were afloat that it would be privatized. Despite the disadvantages of being perceived as an ‘outsider’, he spearheaded a transformation of the upstream hydrocarbon company through vertical integration and positioned ONGC as India’s largest vertically integrated oil and gas company, covering both upstream and downstream sectors. Raha restructured ONGC, investing heavily in the redevelopment of key oilfields, and substantially improved its profitability, causing a dramatic increase in its market value. He has overseen the company’s investment in the import and distribution of LNG in India through a newly established company then, the Petronet LNG. He was instrumental in improving India’s oil security by investing in equity oil—specifically, the Sakhalin-1 and Sudan oilfields, making these the largest ever overseas investments by an Indian corporate. 
He was suffering from lung cancer. He died young at the age of 61 in February 2010. 

bottom of page