An oil ministry status paper has called for hiving off OVL ,the overseas arm of ONGC ,for better reach . The move makes absolutely no sense. Its entirely questionable. The primary business of OVL is to prospect abroad. And its ability to do so would be sorely. Compromised without adequately leveraging the substantial resources of upstream specialist ONGC. The mandate for OVL is to bid for acreage in the high-risk ,high-return upstream oil sector and strike it lucky. The petroleum ministry says a nodal role for OVL. Would be ideal for "total value chain" activities. But without finding oil and gas reserves in the first place,downstream presence would be merely cosmetic. Buying into existing producing assets may not be particularly cheap any ways. And given record oil prices ,existing oil wells are avoidable. The whole point of equity oil and petroleum is to be able to take the right risks. OVL does need to step up expertise in cutting-edge E&P technologies and in negotiation skills,for sure. Designing and implementing perfomance management systems in upstream oil can be challenging. With producing assets in Sudan to Sakhalin and beyond,OVL certainly needs management depth. Also, joint bids abroad for common blocks with Indian Oil or Gail may make eminent sense. A nodal Departmental approach to OVL needs to be promptly shelved, for the common good.