‘ONGC Try­ing to Mask its Fail­ure to De­velop Fields’

WAR OF WORDS Re­liance In­dus­tries, in its af­fi­davit, rules out any con­nec­tiv­ity of its reser­voir with that of ONGC’s

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Re­liance In­dus­tries has ac­cused ONGC of try­ing to cam­ou­flage its own fail­ure to de­velop gas fields by al­leg­ing that RIL had drawn nat­u­ral gas il­le­gally from a reser­voir that the staterun firm says strad­dles the ad­join­ing blocks of the two firms.

In its fi­nal af­fi­davit to the Delhi High Court, RIL ruled out any con­nec­tiv­ity of reser­voirs in the com­pany’s KG-D6 block and the ad­join­ing area of ONGC. The state-run firm has taken RIL, the oil min­istry and the direc­torate gen­eral of hy­dro­car­bons (DGH) to court al­leg­ing that Re­liance may have drawn gas worth thou­sands of crores of ru­pees from a com­mon reser­voir in the KG-D6 block, while au­thor­i­ties turned a blind eye to the is­sue. “It is im­pos­si­ble to al­lege much less to con­clude that the dis­cov­er­ies within the ONGC and RIL blocks are con­nected and it is the case of these Re­spon­dents that there is no con­ti­nu­ity or con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the RIL Block and ONGC Block as is be­ing falsely sug­gested by the Pe­ti­tioner,” RIL said. “The Pe­ti­tion (of ONGC) is com­pletely de­void of any merit or sub­stance what­so­ever and is a mala fide at­tempt on the part of the Pe­ti­tion­ers to hide and cam­ou­flage com­plete in­ac­tion on the part of the Pe­ti­tioner, act­ing in breach of the PSC (prod­uct shar­ing con­tract), for ap­prox­i­mately 13 years and the lack­adaisi­cal ap­proach of hav­ing com­pletely ab­di­cated its du­ties and obli­ga­tions in con­tra­ven­tion of ev­ery can­non of pub­lic in­ter­est,” RIL said in its af­fi­davit. ONGC has ar­gued that Re­liance had drilled wells very close to the com­mon boundary of the blocks, but RIL says this does not mean that reser­voirs are con­nected. “In­de­pen­dent dis­cov­er­ies, un­con­nected to each other have been found in more prox­i­mate dis­tances than the dis­tances men­tioned by the Pe­ti­tion­ers,” RIL ar­gued. It said the pe­ti­tion was based only on ONGC’s “be­lief ”, not tech­ni­cal data. It said that all the wells drilled by RIL are within the bound­aries of its block and had the ap­proval of the Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives in ac­cor­dance with the pro­vi­sions of the PSC. It said that ONGC had missed all the stip­u­lated mile­stones in its con­tract and “failed com­pletely to de­velop their block much less pro­duce any hy­dro­car­bon what­so­ever there­from … as against the ex­plo­ration and de­vel­op­ment work done by these Re­spon­dents to pro­duce hy­dro- car­bons over last six years … The short­com­ings and in­ac­tion on the part of the Pe­ti­tion­ers stands com­pletely ex­posed and the present pro­ceed­ings are noth­ing but an at­tempt at mask­ing and/or cam­ou­flag­ing the same,” it said. The com­pany also ar­gued that ONGC had made al­le­ga­tions on the ba­sis of “stale pur­ported seis­mic data al­legedly avail­able with the Pe­ti­tion­ers since 2006”, which it said can­not es­tab­lish con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween reser­voirs even if they are in close prox­im­ity.

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