No decision yet on RIL gas pricing: Mukherjee

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on gas pricing, which met here today to discuss the Reliance Industries Ltd's (RIL) gas pricing formula, has not reached a decision yet, EGoM Chairman Pranab Mukherjee said.

''No decision has been taken yet,'' Mr Mukherjee said.

Earlier in the day Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli said the meeting had been conclusive and the decision taken in the meeting would be announced by Mr Mukherjee.

With the meeting being conclusive, it was expected that there will be no further meetings of the EGoM on the gas pricing issue.

The issue of gas pricing under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) has kicked off a debate on the need to have gas utilisation, pricing and bidding policies in place to avoid disputes. The issue gathers significance as it would have direct impact on Reliance Industries Ltd's (RIL) gas pricing from its eastern offshore field.

The stakeholders, including the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), have expressed their concerns on RIL's proposed pricing formula.

The Mumbai High Court order of June 20 prohibits RIL from selling gas up to 81.67 mmscmd, which it has committed to NTPC and the ADAG as well as for its own consumption. It leaves RIL with no gas to sell to third parties and, hence, cannot invite any fresh bids to decide on the pricing.

According to gas producing companies, if the Government decides to form policies on gas utilisation, pricing and bidding, and implement them retrospectively, then it could lead to cartelisation among the buyers (bidders).

This would result in anti-competitive practices. Besides, for RIL it would mean inviting fresh bids, which would lead to a delay in commencing the production from the D6 block of KG Basin by at least a year or two.

UNI

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