Ambani brothers not able to reach settlement on gas sharing

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Mumbai, Feb 11 (UNI) The companies of the warring Ambani brothers could not come to a settlement outside the court over the issue of gas sharing, the Bombay High Court was informed today.

Unfortunately, they differed on almost every point, Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Reliance Natural Resources Ltd.(RNRL) headed by Anil Ambani, said in reply to a court's query whether there could be any settlement with Reliance Industries Ltd.(RIL), headed by Mukesh Ambani.

Counsel for RIL Haresh Salve conceded that there were serious differences on vital points of pricing and quantity of gas to be shared.

''We could argue in great detail whether the agreements were binding or not, but what do we do in the meanwhile ?'', Advocate Salve said while complaining that a project 'KG basin Gas project of RIL', of utmost national importance, was held up because of High Court's interim order. He also complained of rival RNRL's claim over gas without having any gas-based power project and said that gas could not be stored anywhere, it had to be utilised as it was being produced.

Rohatgi replied to the contention, saying that unless there was some bankable agreement for sharing of gas, an essential input for gas-based power project, RNRL simply could not take up any power project. It was like the egg and the chicken story, he quipped. He also pointed out that RNRL was willing to accept slight increase in price of gas and requested the division bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice J P Devdhar to continue interim order of the single judge bench till further hearing.

Accordingly, the judges further adjourned the hearing to February 25 and continued the interim order restraining RIL from creating any third party rights over 40 MMS CMD quantity of gas to be produced from KG Basin.

While deciding a company petition filed by RNRL, a single judge bench of the high court had asked the warring Ambani brothers to reconsider and renegotiate gas sharing agreements, terming them as breaching the demerger scheme and had continued the interim orders.

RNRL had contended that the agreement, executed prior to RNRL being handed over to the new management, was a fraud and not in accordance with the demerger scheme, approved earlier by the High Court.

The Demerger scheme, which became effective on December 21, 2005, provided for appropriate gas sharing arrangement between companies led by Mukesh and Anil and accordingly, the agreements were executed.

This arrangement was necessary because after separation, the petroleum business went to the Mukesh Group whereas the gas-based power generation business came to be alloted to the Anil camp.

UNI XR OBB PK KN2005

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