RIL files counter-affidavit in HC against ONGC's 'gas stealing' claim

Reliance Industries Ltd on Friday filed a counter-affidavit in the Delhi High Court rebutting the allegation of the Oil & Natural Gas Commission that RIL was grabbing gas from its offshore fields in the Krishna-Godavari basin. RIL said the legal proceedings initiated against it in this matter were "mala fide and actuated by malice."

The state-run explorer had earlier this month claimed that RIL had virtually stolen its gas worth Rs30,000 crore (See: ONGC takes RIL to court over 'stealing' of its Krishna-Godavari gas).

In its affidavit, RIL countered that it was impossible to allege, far less conclude, that the discoveries within the ONGC and RIL K-G blocks are connected.

The ONGC had "no locus standi to file the petition" as the suit was filed "entirely on the belief" of ONGC, rather than on technical data or any legal right, RIL argued.

All wells drilled by RIL during the development of the D1-D3 fields in KG-D6 are well within the boundaries of Block KG-D6 as allocated to the company following international competitive bidding, it said.

"The production sharing contract (PSC) authorises the contractor (RIL) of the block to drill such exploration, appraisal or development wells as may be necessary for the conduct of petroleum operations within the block and all wells drilled by RIL have accordingly been approved by the management committee consisting of government representatives in accordance with the provisions of the PSC," it added.

In the KG basin, ONGC operates the Godavari block (G-4) and one NELP-I discovery Block KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5), which are contiguous to the RIL-operated NELP-I Block KG-D6.

Both ONGC and RIL have made hydrocarbon discoveries (G4-2, G4-3 & G4-5 in G4, D1 in KG-D5 by ONGC and D1, D3 in KG D6 by RIL).

"Whereas, RIL is producing gas from the D1-D3 field in KG-D6 Block since 2009, ONGC is yet to start development of discoveries in its blocks," the affidavit said.

RIL said ONGC has not even made an attempt to place perfunctory technical or any data before the High Court in support of its allegations and contentions.

Seismic data, on which ONGC based its contention, alone does not and cannot establish connectivity between hydrocarbon reservoirs even when they are in close proximity, it said.

All wells drilled by RIL during the development of D1-D3 field in KG-D6 are well within the boundaries of Block KG-D6 as allocated to the company following international competitive bidding.

"The production sharing contract (PSC) authorises the contractor (RIL) of the block to drill such exploration, appraisal or development wells as may be necessary for the conduct of petroleum operations within the block and all wells drilled by RIL have accordingly been approved by the management committee consisting of government representatives in accordance with the provisions of the PSC," it said.

In the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin, ONGC operates the Godavari block (G-4) and one NELP-I discovery Block KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5), which are contiguous to the RIL-operated NELP-I Block KG-D6.

Both ONGC and RIL have made hydrocarbon discoveries (G4-2, G4-3 & G4-5 in G4, D1 in KG-D5 by ONGC and D1, D3 in KG D6 by RIL).

"Whereas, RIL is producing gas from the D1-D3 field in KG-D6 Block since 2009, ONGC is yet to start development of discoveries in its blocks," the affidavit said.