Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd
(RIL) and its partners, BP and Niko Resources, have initiated an arbitration process against the Centre’s notice imposing a penalty of $1.55 billion on these companies
for allegedly using migrated gas from state-run Oil and Natural Gas
Corporation’s (ONGC’s) asset in KG-D6.
It was on November 3 that the government had slapped the penalty. Following this, RIL had come out with a statement that the contractor’s liability has not been established by any process known to law and the quantification of the purported claim is without any basis and arbitrary. “RIL remains convinced of being able to fully justify and vindicate its position that the government’s claim is not sustainable,” it said. The company is already locked in arbitration with the government on various other issues related to KG-D6.
The Dharmendra Pradhan-led Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas came out with the penalty notice after a report by the one-man panel of justice A P Shah suggested the same and said that the company got ‘unjust’ benefit from the migration of gas. The Shah panel also agreed to the findings of the US-based consultant DeGolyer and MacNaughton, which submitted its report in November last year, and which stated that about 11.122 billion cubic metres of natural gas had migrated from ONGC’s 98/2 area to RIL’s adjoining KG-D6 block from April 2009 to March 2015.