No plans to dig more K-G Basin gas wells, RIL tells SC

Reliance Industries Ltd on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it would drill no more wells in the offshore Krishna-Godavari Basin despite the union government's recent decision to hike the price of gas.

Gurudas Dasgupta, MP and a senior leader of the Communist Party of India, had filed a suit terming the price hike, meant to bring Indian gas prices on par with international benchmarks, as a ''collusive'' exercise to help RIL, the ''contractor''.

In a counter-affidavit, president and chief operating officer of exploration and production at RIL B Ganguly said, "Despite the proposed revision in price, the answering respondent (RIL) has no intention of drilling more wells in this D1 and D3 fields in block KG-D6, giving a complete lie to the suggestion that the drilling of wells was held back to await a price hike."

Dasgupta had alleged that in furtherance of their intention to ''hoard'' gas or deliberately suppress production, the respondents had failed to drill the number of wells which were contemplated in the Addendum to Initial Development Plan.

RIL said the fundamental dispute that has persisted between the government and RIL was on drilling more wells, which the government is pushing for, but RIL along with its junior partner BP is resisting.

"RIL's position, based on expert advice, is that drilling more wells will not increase production and in fact may compromise the reservoir. The government on the other hand has taken a view that more wells should be drilled," Ganguly said.

Contrary to what Dasgupta contended, drilling of additional wells would not necessarily result in automatic and proportionate increase in production of gas, RIL said. "The allegations suggesting 'hoarding' of gas is in the teeth of, and completely ignores, the technical and technological realities and are completely false, baseless and irresponsible," it said.

The MP had alleged that huge benefits were being conferred upon the contractor under the production sharing contract (PSC) in the form of higher price of gas from K-G gas field.