Gas row: Anil slams PetroMin for being biased
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Last Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 16:17
  
Mumbai: In a scathing attack on Oil Ministry for a "partisan and biased approach" favouring his brother Mukesh's group, industrialist Anil Ambani on Tuesday said its stand would only help RIL make a super-profit of Rs 50,000 crore at the cost of fertiliser and power producers.

"RIL is firing from Petroleum Ministry's shoulder" to renege on its commitment to supply gas to state-owned NTPC and his group firm RNRL, Anil told shareholders at the company's Annual General Meeting here.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, whose ministry has sought annulment of the gas supply contract between RIL and RNRL in the Supreme Court, refused to join issue with Anil saying: "I have no comments to make... as the matter is sub-judice. All I can say (to Anil) is best of luck".

Anil dared the Oil Ministry to cancel the Production Sharing Contract with RIL if it was really aggrieved and not challenge third party agreements.

"Government will get only one per cent and RIL 99 percent of the benefits of higher gas price," said Anil, who is fighting a legal battle with Mukesh-led RIL to obtain gas at USD 2.34 per mmBtu as part of the family settlement that the two brothers had reached in June 2005.

Giving details of the global gas scenario, he said the price of the industrial fuel had crashed 80 percent and the gas price of USD 4.2 per mmBtu (fixed by the government) was "exorbitant" and against public interest.

Warning that the Petroleum Ministry's interference in commercial disputes would hurt Foreign Direct Investment as also private investments in natural resource development, Anil said it was taking a "unilateral stand contrary to the Cabinet sub-group decisions".

He said the ministry could only fix price for valuation purpose but not for sale of gas and it is "incorrectly" raising issue of sovereign ownership to bailout RIL.

He said the production cost of KG gas was only 89 cents and even at USD 2.34 per mmBtu, RIL would make huge profits and alleged that the increased capital expenditure by the Mukesh Ambani group company could lower government's revenue by Rs 30,000 crore.

Not only the Ministry's claim that the RIL-RNRL agreement divided sovereign assets was incorrect, but belated as the ministry knew about the gas supply terms between the two from 2006, he said, expressing dismay over the ministry's partisan and biased approach in favour of RIL.

Hitting at RIL, Anil said it was interested in only dragging and delaying issues and not settlement and added that for him the court cases were neither a personal fight nor an ego issue.

Stating that RNRL's stand was upheld by three consecutive judgements of Bombay High Court, he said the judgement also fully protected the government's interest, but RIL has no respect for the sanctity of contract and was disregarding the ruling.

Bureau Report


First Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 16:17


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