Oil ministry is discouraging the public sector generation utility, NTPC, from moving the Supreme Court on gas supplies from Andhra KGD6 offshore fields and wants the company to wait for the outcome of its case against Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd pending in the Bombay High Court. The discouragement has come in the face of power ministry demanding the oil ministry delete all statements that are injurious to NTPC's interest from its counter-affidavit and special leave petition, filed in SC regarding cross-appeals involving Andhra offshore gas by RIL and Anil Ambani's RNRL. The power ministry has identified about 22 paragraphs in the affidavit and SLP as harmful to NTPC's interest and wants them deleted when the oil ministry revises them.
Sources said , NTPC executives wanted to know from the oil ministry officials the ‘‘means'' by which they plan to protect the power utility's interest. NTPC executives said now that the ministry has issued a public statement to this effect, they should also articulate the steps. The oil ministry officials replied the steps will be made known if and when required and NTPC should continue to pursue its case against RIL in the apex court.
The meeting, held at the residence of a top government law officer in the evening, was attended by top oil ministry officials, NTPC honchos and advocates representing the ministry and the power firm in separate -- but intertwined -- cases pertaining to gas supplies. On Friday, the ministry issued a statement saying it will protect NTPC's interest ‘‘by all means''.
Broadly, the power ministry particularly wants deletion of any paragraph in the oil ministry's submissions that effectively mean RIL will have to sell gas as per the gas utilisation policy framed by a ministerial panel in 2008 and allocation of the petroleum ministry. Second, RIL will have to sell gas only at $4.20 per unit as per the formula approved by the government.
Both attorney general and solicitor general have advised NTPC to move SC against the Bombay High Court's permission to RIL to change its stand in the case with the power firm. The government's law officers also said NTPC must move the SC in the RIL-RNRL case as its outcome will impact the utility's legal prospects.
Both the cases have become intertwined due to the oil ministry's stand that the Andhra offshore gas cannot be sold below the price of $4.20 per unit it has set and only the Centre has the right to decide who gets how much. The stand is seen as having put NTPC on the backfoot as it is fighting RIL on a contract that envisages a price of $2.34 tendered in a 2004 global bid.
Source - Times of India