Court seeks Reliance demerger pact to settle gas dispute

September 2nd, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sept 2 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Tuesday asked for the agreement of demerger of the Reliance group between the Ambani brothers - Anil and Mukesh - for settlement of a dispute over the production of gas from a hydrocarbon asset off the Andhra Pradesh coast.In the interim, the court decided to adjourn till Sep 30 the case involving the two high-profile brothers of one of India’s largest business dynasties.

The dispute between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) is over hydrocarbon assets from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

RNRL is ready to produce part of the agreement that deals with the proposed gas supply master agreement, its lawyer Ram Jethmalani said.

The RIL lawyer said RNRL should file a separate application for this as the agreement was not part of the record till now.

RNRL Monday told the court it was willing to trade gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin, should its appeal for the allotment of the said hydrocarbon be upheld.

“Our group’s power plants would come up in three years if we get a bankable agreement of supply from Reliance Industries,” RNRL counsel Ram Jethmalani told IANS.

“Once the plants come up, RNRL will use gas only for power generation,” Jethmalani told the court. The hearing was, however, adjourned by a day to Tuesday because of the sudden death of a senior lawyer.

Jethmalani also reiterated before the court that Anil Ambani was willing to meet Mukesh Ambani any time to resolve the dispute and that he was also open to mediation by their mother Kokilaben Ambani.

“I don’t think Mukesh is in a mood to settle the dispute,” Jethmalani told reporters.
An earlier interim order, in which the court restrained RIL from selling the gas or from entering into any contract with a third party, has lapsed.

RIL was subsequently planning to start production from the basin.

The court had also restrained RIL from entering into contracts to sell the gas from this basin - known in officially as KG-D6 gas - with companies other than RNRL and the state-run National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC).

It had also asked the two sides to settle the dispute within four months, but they failed to reach an agreement within the stipulated timeframe.

RNRL has claimed at least half of the 80 million standard cubic metres of gas per day that is envisaged from the fields off the Andhra Pradesh coast - said to be the country’s biggest source of hydrocarbons.

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