Reliance Industries has no plan to resolve gas dispute: Anil Ambani

September 23rd, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 23 (IANS) The feud between the two Ambani brothers deepened Tuesday with the younger sibling Anil charging his brother Mukesh’s Reliance Industries of thwarting every effort to resolve the dispute over natural gas supplies.”There was no will on the other side to uphold contractual obligations,” Anil Ambani told the annual general meeting of one of his group companies, Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL), here.

“We tried to negotiate in utmost sincerity with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), but all our efforts were thwarted, as RIL does not want to follow contractual obligations.”

The dispute, being heard by the Bombay High Court, is over hydrocarbon assets from the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the coast of Andhra Pradesh in Bay of Bengal.

The Anil Ambani group has claimed at least half of the 80 million standard cubic metres of gas per day (MMSCMD) that is envisaged from the fields - said to be the country’s biggest source of hydrocarbons.

The next court hearing is on Sep 30. Reliance Industries officials declined comment saying the matter was sub judice.

The remarks by Anil Ambani came two days after his elder brother announced the start of crude oil production at what is called the D-6 block in the Krishna-Godavari basin, with gas slated to be pumped early-2009.

When queried on the litigation with RNRL, Mukesh Ambani had ruled out any out-of-court settlement.

Anil Ambani claimed the government will only earn Rs.10 billion in revenues from gas produced from KG-basin, compared to Rs.200 billion for RIL for a period of five years.

According to Anil Ambani, Reliance Industries had contracted to supply 12 MMSCMD of gas to the state-run NTPC at $2.34 per unit and it was agreed that if the gas was not supplied, it would be sold to Reliance Natural Resources.

He said, Reliance Industries had also agreed to supply the next 28 MMSCMD of gas to his company for power and other projects, also at $2.34 mmbtu, for 17 years.

“In other words, the supply of gas to Reliance Natural was contracted at the prevailing market price - determined through rigorous process of international competitive bidding and on the same terms and conditions as the NTPC contract.”

Anil Ambani also took a dig at the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, saying while for two years it did not think it necessary to intervene, it suddenly filed an affidavit in the court.

“It is anyone’s guess what prompted the ministry’s belated intervention,” he said, adding it was equally surprising why the ministry was seeking to help a private player while shying away from the interests of a navratna like NTPC.

Anil Ambani also said that the gas pact with his group was signed when Mukesh Ambani still controlled the undivided empire created by their father Dhirubhai Ambani and prior to its de-merger.

“This unilateral and one-sided agreement was wilfully designed to make a mockery of the arrangement for gas supply and ensured that the entire purpose of the de-merger is frustrated and shareholders of Reliance Natural do not get their rightful dues.”

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