Mukesh meets Deora, oil secy; discusses gas production plans, sale of D-6 block gas

Written by Energy Bureau | New Delhi, Sep 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2008, 07:05am hrs
Mukesh Ambani, chairman, Reliance Industries Limited, called up on petroleum minister Murli Deora on Monday, a day ahead of the hearing of the RIL-RNRL case.

Petroleum ministry officials maintained that there were no discussions on the RIL-RNRL dispute and the discussions between the elder Ambani brother and Deora were on some critical issues concerning the sale of gas from its deepwater gas block D-6 in the KG basin, which is expected to start production from the end of December or early January 2009. Ambani also held a 45-minute discussion with petroleum secretary RS Pandey.

Given the sensitivity of the matter, Mukesh, tight-lipped about his meetings with Deora and Pandey, said, This is my private visit. Please appreciate my privacy. Mukesh was accompanied by PMS Prasad, the CEO and president (oil and gas), of his company.

Pandey, however, said Ambani talked about production from the eastern offshore KG basin D-6 block, the companys upcoming export-oriented refinery at the Jamnagar SEZ in Gujarat and, general issues relating to the industry. Pandey maintained that the legal dispute between RIL and Anil Ambanis Reliance Natural Resources, where the government had sought to implead itself, was not discussed. We did not discuss about this case. He did not talk about this, he added. Official sources said Ambani largely discussed gas production plans with Pandey and also sought the governments intervention on the lifting of the High Court stay on the sale of gas from its D-6 block.

RIL has already started the production of oil from its D-6 block from September 17. The peak gas output from D-6 is envisaged at 80 million standard cubic meters per day, almost doubling the domestic gas output.

Pandey confirmed that Mukesh also explained the companys plans for D-6, but refused to specify the details. He said that the government is seeking to become party to the court case between the Ambani brothers so as to get the injunction lifted on the sale of gas from the nations prime D-6 fields. Pandey, however, did not say what future action the government may take if the Bombay High Court did not vacate the stay on gas sales from D-6. We will cross the bridge when we reach it, he said when asked if the government may move the Supreme Court.

Our lawyers have already moved an application (in the Mumbai High Court) seeking to vacate the injunction, Pandey said. The government had impleaded in the gas row between the two brothers on the advice of the attorney general and the law ministry, which saw the government as an affected party from the Bombay High Court stay on the sale of gas from D-6.