Hearing on dispute over Reliance gas adjourned

September 1st, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 1 (IANS) The Anil Ambani-led Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) Monday told the Bombay High Court that 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 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 because of the sudden death of a senior lawyer.

Jethmalani also reiterated before the court that Anil Ambani was willing to meet his elder brother Mukesh Ambani anytime 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, emerging from the hearing.

The dispute is over the gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the coast of Andhra Pradesh and more specifically over the right to the hydrocarbon extracted by Reliance Industries and at what price.

The court’s earlier interim order, in which Reliance Industries Ltd was restrained from selling the gas, or from entering into any contract with a third party, had lapsed. The Mukesh Ambani group was, accordingly, planning to start production from the basin.

The court had also restrained Reliance Industries from entering into contracts to sell the gas from this basin - officially named KG-D6 basin - with companies other than the state-run National Thermal Corp and Reliance Natural Resources.

The court had also asked the two sides to settle the dispute within four months, but they failed to reach an agreement within the stipulated time frame.

The Anil Ambani group 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.

Reliance Industries said Monday it has now discarded plans to transfer a majority stake in the deep water gas block to a fully-owned subsidiary as it had raised the necessary finances.

In a statement, RIL said it had earlier applied to assign part of its interest in the D6 block in the Krishna Godavari basin to a 100 percent owned subsidiary “in order to retain flexibility for raising finances for the project”.

“Our projects are nearing completion and we have successfully raised the finance and so do not wish to pursue the application seeking approval to assign our participating interest to our 100 percent owned subsidiaries and have since withdrawn it.”

The company intends to produce the gas from the end of October, a month later than scheduled, Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pande said in New Delhi.

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