The Bombay high court today lifted an interim stay on the sale of natural gas by Reliance Industries and allowed it to sell KG basin gas at $4.2 per mmbtu till final orders on 15 March.
A division bench of the high court comprising Justices JN Patel and KK Tated reserved its judgment even as both parties - Mukesh Ambani-led RIL and Anil Ambani-run RNRL - concluded arguments over the price of gas to be supplied by RIL to RNRL.
The court said the sale of gas in the interim period would be restricted to the priority list of customers set by the government, with fertiliser and power being the top two sectors to get gas.
RNRL, however, argued that it would buy gas from RIL only on the terms agreed with state-run power producer NTPC - $2.34 per mmBtu - while the Mukesh Ambani-run company said it would supply gas to RNRL at the government-approved price of $4.20 per mmBtu.
An empowered committee headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukerjee had allowed Reliance Industries to sell natural gas from the Krishna-Godaveri field in the east cost at $4.20 per unit, the court observed.
''This is only an interim order. The court has allowed Reliance Industries to sell gas at the rate determined by the government,'' said Mohan Parasaran, additional solicitor general of India, after the court's verdict.
Mukul Rohatgi, counsel for Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources, also emphasised that Friday's order was only interim in nature.
The legal representatives said the court gave an interim order in the larger interest of the country and to ensure that production from one of the largest hydrocarbon fields in India does not get delayed any further.
The court had stayed the sale of natural gas from the fields after the Anil Ambani Group and NTPC filed cases against Reliance Industries over the sale price and quantity of fuel.