May 8, 2010

AMBANI VS. AMBANI: Chronology of Gas Raw Between RIL and RNRL

Following is the chronology of events surrounding the dispute over supply and pricing of gas from Reliance Industries' eastern offshore KG-D6 fields to Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL): 
February 1999: Reliance Industries (undivided) and Niko Resources of Canada win Krishna Godavari (KG) basin deepsea block KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6_ in India’s first licencing round (NELP-1)

April 2000: RIL-Niko sign Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for KG-D6 with the Government
October 2002: RIL makes huge gas finds in the block KG-D6; names them Dhirubhai-1 and 3

September 2003: State power utility NTPC Ltd floats global tender for sourcing 12 million standard cubic meters a day of natural gas/LNG to fuel expansion projects at Kawas and Gandhar in Gujarat

June 2004: Reliance Energy signs pact with Uttar Pradesh for world's largest gas-based power plant with a capacity of 3,500 MW at Dadri near Delhi

June/July 2004: RIL wins NTPC tender quoting USD 2.34 per million British thermal unit price for KG-D6 gas

June 18, 2005: Memorandum of Understanding to reorganise RIL signed between brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani. Anil resigns as joint managing director. While Mukesh gets energy and petrochemical business, Anil gets power, financial services and telecom business

August 2005: Ambani brothers sign non-compete pact. RIL board approves scheme of de-merger

December 2005: NTPC moves Bombay High Court seeking RIL to 'perform' the bid it had made in its gas supply tender

January 10, 2006: RIL Board approves the draft Gas Sale Master Agreement (GSMA) to be signed with RNRL for sale of gas on terms decided in the family MoU

January 12, 2006: The board of directors of RIL approve pact that calls for 28 mmscmd of gas to be supplied to Anil Ambani Group and up to 40 mmscmd if the contract with NTPC does not materialise.
July 26, 2006: Petroleum Ministry rejects RIL's proposal to sell Reliance Natural Resources Ltd a minimum of 28 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of gas from D6 field for USD 2.34 per million British thermal unit (mBtu)

November 7, 2006: RNRL files a case against RIL in the Bombay high court

May 3, 2007: Ad-interim relief granted to RNRL. RIL restrained from creating any third party interest for 40 mmscmd (28 mmscmd claimed by RNRL and 12 mmscmd offered in NTPC tender)

September 13, 2007: Empowered group of ministers (EGoM) approves RIL's gas pricing formula with minor changes. The price for first five years fixed at USD 4.20/MMBtu

October 2007: EGoM sets gas distribution priorities with first preference to existing fertilizer, cooking gas, power and steel unit

January 30, 2009: Bombay high court lifts stay on sale of gas produced from KG-D6 block, allowing it to be sold to buyers as per Govt's Gas utilization policy at USD 4.20/MMBtu

March 2009: Government finalizes gas allocation to fertilizer and power sectors

June 15, 2009: Bombay High Court instructs RIL and RNRL to draft an agreement that gives gas to RNRL as agreed upon in the MoU

July 4, 2009: RNRL moves Supreme Court

July 5, 2009: RIL moves SC

July 17, 2009: Government files writ petition seeking to declare that part of the Ambani family pact that deals with gas supplies as null and void
October 20, 2009: Supreme Court begins hearing the cross appeals
November 4, 2009: Justice Raveendran recuses himself from hearing
December 18, 2009: Three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan reserves judgement on the case
May 8, 2010: Supreme Court delivers its verdict. 
Courtesy: Business Standard