SC declines govt request on RIL fine
New Delhi: In a setback to the oil ministry, the Supreme Court has dismissed its petition against an order seeking disclosure of documents that formed basis for levy of $3-billion penalty on Reliance Industries over KG-D6 natural gas output not matching targets.
A three-member international arbitration panel, hearing Reliance and its partner’s challenge to the government levying penalty because of unutilised capacity due to production not matching targets, had asked the ministry to share a slew of documents that formed basis for its actions. The oil ministry first challenged the disclosure before the Delhi high court, which on December 18, 2018, dismissed the petition. It then challenged it in the Supreme Court, which on August 5, 2019, dismissed it saying it was “not inclined to interfere” with the earlier order.
The centre had in 2012-2016 disallowed RIL and partners from recovering the $3.02-billion cost for KG-D6 output lagging targets. The penalty in form of disallowance of recovery of some costs was levied because the oil ministry and its technical arm DGH felt that the output lagged targets as the company did not drill the committed number of wells on the fields and created excess capacity.