Efforts on to lift stay on K-G basin gas production (Lead)

September 25th, 2008 - 12:27 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) The government is making all efforts to get vacated a court injunction on the production of gas by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, a top petroleum ministry official said here Wednesday.“Efforts are on to get the injunction vacated, as once that is done, then only production starts and it will be utilised. It is a national priority to get the gas out as quickly as possible and to utilise it,” Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey said after a lecture on energy security.

“The ministry had sent a team there and we found that gas production can start by the end of the current year,” Pandey said.

But due to the court injunction, production could not begin. “The government has requested the (Bombay High) court for lifting the injunction,” said Pandey, adding that the ministry was making “efforts to get the stay vacated”.

Pandey also described the start of crude oil production by RIL in the K-G basin as a matter of “national pride” and added that it encouraged other operators in the area, especially state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) to begin more intensive exploration in India’s deep water fields.

He said the gas production in the K-G basin would double domestic output in the next 16-18 months.

Anil Ambani Tuesday lashed out at the oil ministry at Reliance Natural Resources Ltd’s (RNRL) annual general meeting for intervening in favour of RIL in the court case.

Pandey refused to comment on Anil Ambani’s remarks, stating: “I cannot talk on the subject, as it is sub-judice.”

RNRL is fighting a court battle with RIL - led by his estranged elder brother Mukesh Ambani - over the sale of gas from the K-G basin.

RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani Sunday announced the commencement of oil production in the D-6 block. He added gas production would begin within the first three months of next year and offered consumers at a price of $4.2 per million British thermal unit.

According to Anil Ambani, RIL had contracted to supply 12 million standard cubic metres (SCMD) of gas to the state-run National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) at $2.34 per unit and it was agreed that if the gas was not supplied, it would be sold to RNRL.

Further, the Anil Ambani group has made claims over at least half of the 80 million SCMD that is envisaged from the fields, which is considered the country’s biggest source of hydrocarbons.

The next court hearing is Sep 30.

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