Govt asks Reliance Industries to surrender 81 pc of KG-D6 gas block

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SummaryWe plan to send them the notice: Veerappa Moily

The government today asked Reliance Industries to give up 81 per cent of its KG-D6 gas block, including five discoveries, as the time allocated for producing from them had expired.

"I think the notice (for relinquishment) has gone. If it hasn't yet gone, it will go today. We plan to send them the notice today," Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said here.

The Oil Ministry wants RIL and its partners BP plc of UK and Canada's Niko Resources to give up 6,198.88 square kilometres out of a total 7,645 sq km area in KG-D6 block, by retaining only the portions where regulator DGH-recognised discoveries have been made.

The area sought is more than 5,367 sq km area that RIL had offered to relinquish and includes five discoveries – D4, D7, D8, D16 and D23 for which the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) had opined that RIL missed deadlines for submission of investment plans.

"We discussed the issue threadbare and after analysing it have reached to this conclusion that they (RIL) need to relinquish certain area as per the Production Sharing Contract (PSC)," he said. "We have followed a transparent process where we gave them due opportunity to present their case."

The five discoveries hold 0.805 trillion cubic feet of reserves, or about one-fourth of the restated reserves in the currently producing Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) fields in KG-D6 block, and are worth USD 10 billion at current imported cost of gas.

Also, the Oil Ministry will be moving Cabinet soon to deny the new USD 8.4 per million British thermal unit price for gas from D1&D3. This would be done on the grounds that fall in output to 10 million standard cubic metres per day from 54 mmscmd achieved in March 2010, instead of rising to projected 80 mmscmd, was due to RIL's failure to drill the requisite number of wells.

"The gas pricing note to the Cabinet will go shortly," he said.

RIL will be allowed the new price only if its arguments of geological complexities being responsible for the fall in production are proved.This is the second penalty that is being sought to

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