About Us

SK Oilfield’s birth: its years of infancy, adolescence and adulthood

When Raj Kanwar started business in 1970 as the accredited representative in India of reputed overseas companies manufacturing equipment for E&P sector, his was the first such small business to make an entry into this new exciting territory. There were two or three major corporate entities at that time that had set up separate agency divisions to cater to the needs of this unchartered market. Raj was not only a sole proprietor but also a one-man army.

With the assistance of a part time secretary, he began sending letters to foreign companies seeking their representation in India. His approach was ingenious; his letters to foreign companies were convincing enough to goad two of them to repose their faith in the ability of an individual in preference to large companies.  Gradually, year by year more and more foreign companies came into Raj Kanwar’s stable until the count of overseas principals reached a dozen. In the course of the following 10 years, Raj Kanwar was able to establish a name for himself in the then nascent Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). The only other E&P company at that time was Oil India Limited headquartered in Duliajan, Assam in the North Eastern part of India.

In February 1980, Raj’s proprietary firm was incorporated into a private limited company under the name of SK Oilfield Equipment Company Private Limited. Raj and his wife Amber became the promoter-directors. By then Raj had employed qualified staffers and appointed representatives in several work centres in India’s oil patch. Flushed with discoveries in Gujarat and Assam, ONGC rightly became more enterprising and decided to go offshore. It also set up its own offices in Mumbai (then called Bombay). SK Oilfield also followed ONGC to Bombay in order to cater to its growing requirements.

With the opening of the oil and gas blocks to private Indian and multinational companies under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), several Indian and foreign E&P companies set up shop in India. This vastly expanded the number of customers that came SK Oilfield’s way; as a result the number of clients increased to over 25 that SK Oilfield caters to now.Today SK Oilfield cover the entire oil patch in India, helping overseas companies do business with Indian and multinational oil and gas companies

Amber Kanwar

To begin at the beginning, Raj Kanwar was essentially a journalist and in a way the pioneer in publishing and editing small town newspapers. His first venture was VANGUARD in 1953, a fortnightly news magazine that subsequently graduated into a weekly and then a daily newspaper.service companies, EPC companies, drilling contractors, etc.

Almost simultaneously, Raj was Dehra Dun stringer for three mainstream English newspapers published from Delhi and Chandigarh. Those were the days when leading dailies could not afford to employ their own staffers in smaller towns and generally depended on stringers for news coverage. At that time there were not many professional journalists; thus Raj ruled the roost in the then small town of Dehra Dun. As a fearless journalist, his reporting was incisive and he published many stories rattling skeletons in numerous cupboards in various government departments. He also made many friends among the leading politicians. KD Malaviya, the father of petroleum industry in India, was one of them. He also befriended some of the top personnel in ONGC. Many of them were in the same age group as he, and became Raj’s friends

His career then took another turn when K D Malaviya, asked him to join ONGC. He thus became ONGC’s public relations officer and was instrumental in setting up its offices both in Gujarat and Assam regions where ONGC then operated.

However interesting and challenging his job was, after having worked as a freewheeling journalist, he found it difficult to work in a government company even though it had had great potential. He resigned from ONGC in 1963 and found himself in Calcutta working as an advertising manager in a leading private company. But he yearned to come back to Dehra Dun & could not adjust to life in “big city” Calcutta.


Dehra Dun. Even though his job in Calcutta with was lucrative enough, nevertheless he put in his papers and returned to Dehra Dun after an absence of five years.

Raj Kanwar

The first issue of WITNESS – the newsweekly with a difference – appeared on 15th August 1964. He had enrolled 100 life subscribers at Rs. 100 each. Those 10,000 rupees became his working capital. He had kept aside his savings.

WITNESS was a hit right from its first issue. It became the first newsweekly to be sold at news stalls and through street vendors. Priced at 25 paise, the first print order of 1000 copies was sold out in no time. He did exposes, picking up targets one by one. The titles of Earle Stanley Gardner’s famous novels inspired his headlines. Sample a few: “The case of the missing maps” “the case of the crooked pipeline”, “the case of the defective registers”. Those mostly pertained to the shady purchases by government departments. Raj trained many youngsters in the fine art of responsible journalism andeach one of them later found a prized professional job.


But the newspaper business was not viable at that time. To make matters worse, Raj refused to seek government advertising so as to remain unprejudiced; he did not even register with DAVP or the information department of the state government. Meanwhile, in January 1965, he got married. His personal expenses started climbing. He could see the writing on the wall; his dreams were about to be shattered.

The seeds of SK OILFIELD:

All these years, Raj had made many friends in ONGC; a friend suggested he should try to do some business with ONGC. Its nature was to provide effective representation and services to foreign companies for promoting the sales of their products to ONGC. Without any background and with no business experience, the suggestion came to a desperate man like summer showers on a parched land. He decided to take the plunge. Thus ironically, the foundation stone of future SK Oilfield was laid on the grave of WITNESS that had died a natural death.

His verbal and written communication skills, backed by his public relations experience helped a great deal. With help and guidance from friends, he started writing to foreign companies. He had initially short-listed five and made a thorough study of their product range, their applications and their competitors.

SK OILFIELD is incorporated:

To cut short the long story, it took him two years to earn the first fee and another three years to establish his name. When he took his first trip abroad, a US Dollar got him Nine Rupees. Those were the years of sweat and toil but finally he found success.

Enter Manav Kanwar:

also attended many other professional and trade conferences worldwide. He also frequently travelled abroad for personal interaction with foreign companies and in order to establish a better rapport with them. Meanwhile, Raj’s elder son Manav had joined Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi and graduated in 1988. Post haste, he arrived in Bombay to assist his father. In the course of following two years, Manav picked up the nitty-gritty of the business and soon enough began travelling abroad for hands-on training in the manufacturing facilities of some of the foreign principals.

Manav Kanwar & Raj Kanwar

It was a reality check for Manav, and he successfully came through this baptism by fire. As Manav gradually learnt the ropes and the nitty-gritty of business, Raj started putting more and more responsibility on his young shoulders. Manav was a fast learner by 1995, had established contacts with all the customers in India as also with the foreign principals.

Now managed by Manav & his able team , SK Oilfield is among the more reputed companies in the area of marketing hi-tech products and services to the oil and gas sector in India.

With Manav now in control, Raj gradually started withdrawing himself from the day-to-day business of the company.. He finally retired as Chairman of the company in 2000 leaving the business in the hands of Manav. Saying good bye to business, he resumed his old passion of writing and reading. That he did with a vengeance and plunged into a furious routine of writing columns and articles on current affairs.

Soon the chairman of ONGC, late Subir Raha invited Raj to write the official history of ONGC that was to be released on its golden jubilee. It was a godsend opportunity which Kanwar grabbed with both hands. He was then 76 and writing of the ONGC history entailed travelling all over the country, meeting and interviewing retired ONGCians. Fortunately, Raj knew most of them and it was a great opportunity for him to meet his old friends and former colleagues. The book took six months to finish during which Raj worked more than eight hours a day doing research and writing. The book was published under the title UPSTREAM INDIA and released by the then minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Murli Deora at a special function in Dehra Dun on ONGC’s Golden Jubilee

The first two American companies:

Manav Kanwar

Starting a business in the uncharted waters of oil and gas industry was not an easy task but Raj was able to tie up with the Houstonbased RUSKA Instrument Corporation as its representative in India. This was soon followed by Geophysical Research Corporation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. These two companies were leaders in sub-surface gauges, laboratory apparatus and samplers. Initially, there was some competition but gradually both RUSKA and GRC were able to establish a dominant position  in the Indian market.

Million dollar orders:

SK Oilfield was fortunate to attract Reda Pump Company, then a unit of TRW Inc.. Galen Gibson, who was then its general manager based in Singapore, came to Dehra Dun to interview Raj Kanwar. Though there were other suitors for the representation of this company, Gibson somehow was impressed with Kanwar’s dynamism and the verbal presentation that he had made. Thus Reda became SK Oilfield’s third foreign principal. Business for Reda business was not easy since Electrical Submersible Pumps (ESP) had never been used in India till then. Raj analysed the application of ESP’s in Indian conditions and found Ankleswar, Gujarat and Lakwa, Assamto be good candidate fields. After intensive efforts that included presentations on the benefits of ESP technology, ONGC came out with its first tender for these pumps for Ankleshar oilfield. Lakwa soon followed suit with a much bigger order.. In due course, Reda Pumps became synonomous with ESP’s in India.

Raj Kanwar
Dresser Security then appointed SKO as its accredited representative in India and received several good orders. A milliondollar order those days was a rarity but SKO secured million dollars orders for RUSKA, GRC, Reda and Dresser Security. Some of the other companies that were represented by SKO were Fredrick Leutert, Pipeline Development Company (PLIDCO), Geoservices of France and Weatherford. SKO continued to represent Weatherford for a long time and did substantial business for it. Even PLIDCO once received a million dollar order from Gas Authority of India Ltd.

Today, SK Oilfield represents crème de la crème of overseas companies. Each one is a leader in its chosen field.
SK Oilfield’s business credo is honesty and integrity and the successes are essentially due to the fair dealings and prompt service to clients.

SK Oilfield has a reputation for conducting business in a lawful and ethical manner and this is vital to continuing growth and success. We are committed to strict compliance with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) as also the relevant Indian laws. SKO is a certified member of TRACE International Inc

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