Sued RIL to protect commercial interest, says ONGC

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Sued RIL to protect commercial interest, says ONGC
New Delhi: State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) today said its surprise move to sue Reliance Industries for alleged "theft" of natural gas from its Bay of Bengal block, was to protect its "commercial interest".

ONGC had on May 15 moved the Delhi High Court alleging that RIL may have drawn natural gas worth thousands of crores of rupees from its fields that sit next to Mukesh Ambani-run firm's KG-D6 block Krishna Godavari basin.

"The matter (of RIL allegedly drawing gas from ONGC blocks) was brought to the notice of our board (in March). The board was of the view that we need to protect our commercial interest at all costs. If that requires any legal recourse, we will take that," ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Dinesh K Sarraf told reporters here.

The state-owned firm wants a "truly independent" agency to examine the matter, and seeks compensation from RIL if it is established that the private firm drew gas from its reservoir.

The company believes its Godavari Block (known as G-4) and New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-1) discovery block KG-DWN-98/2 are contiguous to RIL-operated NELP-1 Block KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6).

It believes KT-1/D-1 gas find in block KG-DWN-98/2 and G-4 Pliocene gas find in Godavari Block extend outside the block boundaries into KG-D6.

"As per our data, some of the resources is common to our block and RIL. There is apprehension that some of wells (of RIL) on the boundary of the block may be drawing gas from our fields," he said.

ONGC believes that RIL's D6-A5, D6-A9 and D6-A13 wells drilled close to the block boundary may be draining gas from G-4 field of Godavari block while the well D6-B8 may be draining gas from DWN-D-1 field of KG-DWN-98/2 block.

The company approached the Delhi High Court even though the two firms had been in discussions to resolve the issue through appointment of a third-party neutral expert like the way it is done globally. The last meeting on the issue was held on May 9, within days of which ONGC moved the court.

ONGC had nine months back approached the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) with a request to share production and well data of KG-D6 field for analysing if the reservoir of the neighbouring field has same and continuous gas pool.

RIL has maintained that there exists uncertainties with regard to the possibility of channel extension, sand continuity as well as the connectivity.

Terming ONGC's claims as "baseless" RIL had on May 15 stated that the litigation was unwarranted and it was "constructively engaged" with ONGC in sharing data.

ONGC in the petition said the DGH should have been vigilant while clearing RIL's field development plan, which involved drilling wells "at such a tantalisingly close distance of 50 metres to 350 metres" from the common boundary of the blocks.


PTI

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