Oil ministry seeks expanded legal team in RIL-RNRL dispute

The union petroleum ministry has sought expansion of the legal team that will argue the government's case on the gas dispute between the Ambani brothers before the Supreme Court, which will come up for hearing on 20 October.

"We wrote to the law ministry last week seeking strengthening of the legal team with appointment of more lawyers," a senior oil ministry official said.
Additional solicitor-general Mohan Parasaran currently represents the government in the dispute over the quantities and price committed by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in a 2005 family agreement for supply of natural gas to Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL).     

The government has filed a special leave petition in the apex court seeking to become party to the dispute and has contended that national resources cannot be appropriated through private family arrangements and it alone holds the right to approve rates and decide on customers keeping national priorities in mind.     

The official said one more ASG, besides 3-4 junior lawyers, have been sought to "substantially increase" the strength of the legal team. "Parasaran stays on the team and the increase in number has been sought with his approval."  

The cross appeals filed by RIL and RNRL are before the SC seeking adjudication on a Bombay high court judgment (See: RNRL, RIL move Supreme Court over HC ruling in gas dispute).

RNRL is seeking a minimum 28 million standard cubic meters per day or more than one-third of the peak output from RIL's eastern offshore KG-D6 fields, at $2.34 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu).