SC extends hearing on Ambani gas dispute case to Wednesday

The Supreme Court, which commenced hearing on the gas dispute between Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd and the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd today, adjourned the matter for further hearing tomorrow when RIL would continue its arguments.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan also said it would consider admissibility of petitions by the government and others later.

While the Anil Ambani group argues that Reliance Industries is bound by a 2005 Ambani family agreement to supply RNRL natural gas from RIL's KG-D6 gas fields at $2.34 per mmBtu,  RIL cites a government-approved rate of $4.2 per mmBtu of gas produced from the east cost gas fields.

RNRL is seeking a minimum of 28 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of natural gas from the KG-6 gas fields - over a third of its peak output - for 17 years.

Harish Salve, counsel for RIL, however, told the court that the company's board had not approved the family MoU that provides for supply of gas by the company to RNRL.

RIL  counsel said the case is purely between the two Ambani brothers and they should not drag the companies into the dispute and harm shareholders' interests.

RIL and RNRL moved the Supreme Court following a Bombay high court ruling on 15 June asking RIL to honour the 2005 family agreement.

The government, meanwhile, sought to become party to the dispute as, according to it, national resources cannot be appropriated from the state through family arrangements.