Mumbai/New Delhi: Anil Ambani on Monday welcomed Oil Minister Murli Deora’s comments that the Dadri plant would be treated on par with other plants, and said that the plant had been held up because of the malafide intention of Mukesh Ambani led RIL.
In a statement to the media, the younger Ambani also added that RNRL would ensure that there is no disruption of gas supply, while urging the PM to ensure neutrality in the gas dispute.
Murli Deora, in his statement in Parliament, had said that the Dadri power plant would be taken up for allocating natural gas from KG-D6 fields along with other similar upcoming gas-fired power plants. The plant would treated "on the same footing as other similar plants,” the minister said.
But he added that the Anil Ambani group firm RNRL`s Dadri power plant "is neither installed nor functional."
Addressing the Lower House MPs earlier in the day, on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s accusation that the government failed to ensure supply of gas for the Dadri power project in Uttar Pradesh, the minister said that there was no discrimination against the state in allocation of gas.
The clarification, however, failed to convince Mulayam who again accused the Oil Minister of corruption and asked him to resign. He also accused Deora of partisanship in the dispute.
Deora also said that gas to be produced from Reliance Industries` KG-D6 fields has to be utilised in accordance with the gas utilisation policy approved by the government, while stating that the Bombay High Court judgment on the gas feud will have implications on the government`s gas utilisation policy.
He further informed the House that Reliance was producing 35 million standard cubic meters per day of gas from KG-D6 fields currently, adding output will go up to 80 mmscmd.
Responding to the charges made by Anil Ambani of favouring Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, Deora said that the government is not partisan and added oil and gas is a national asset.
"We have nothing to do with the private dispute of two industries or industrialists. However, we have everything to do with protecting the interests of the government and public interest, this is our constitutional and legal obligation," Oil Minister Murli Deora said in Lok Sabha.
Deora said that the MoU between Mukesh and Anil Ambani not only stipulated sharing of gas between companies run by them from KG-D6 fields, but also from other fields that RIL may explore and operate in the future, thus necessitating government`s petition in Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court decision.
"The final order of the Bombay High Court has implications on government`s rights to formulate and implement the gas utilisation policy under the Production Sharing Contract (PSC)," Deora said, explaining why the government had to move Supreme Court against the High Court order.
"Notwithstanding government policies and provisions of the PSC, the order observes that the provision of (Ambani) MoU are binding on the parties," he said.
The Ambani MoU, he said, provides for 12 mmscmd for NTPC, 28 mmscmd to RNRL and the remaining gas from KG-D6 and also other fields to be split between RIL-RNRL in 60:40 ratio.
"Under the circumstances, it was necessary to file an SLP in the Supreme Court and accordingly action has been taken," he said, refusing to give details as the matter was subjudice.
Rejecting contentions that the government did not argue its case before the Bombay High Court that initially heard the gas dispute between the two brothers, he said it was on the government`s plea that the court lifted stay on gas sales.
"Government placed before the court its submissions indicating its right under the PSC, including inter-alia the gas utilisation policy," he said.
Citing the PSC, he said gas to be produced from KG-D6 fields is to be utilised in accordance with the Gas Utilisation Policy to be approved by the government.
"We will make all endeavours to protect government`s legal rights to regulate the utilisation of gas and its allocation," Deora said.
An empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) allocated the first 15 mmscmd of gas from KG-D6 to urea plants that has helped save Rs 3,000 crore in fertiliser subsidy. Further, 18 mmscmd was allocated to power plants that helped produce 4,000 MW of additional power.
"An additional 25 mmscmd needs to be supplied to existing power plants to enable optimum operations and to power plants to be commissioned in 2009-10, which would lead to additional generation of over 5,000 MW," Deora said.
The SP chief had recently said that grave injustice was being done to Uttar Pradesh by denying gas to the Dadri power plant and this in turn could cost the national exchequer Rs 30,000 crore.
Anil Ambani had earlier hit out at the Petroleum Ministry for colluding with his elder brother Mukesh`s RIL in blocking gas supply to its power projects despite a firm commitment, upheld thrice by the Bombay High Court.