Government wants RIL to prioritise gas sales

Mumbai: Close on the heels of approving a price of $4.20 per mBtu for natural gas to be produced from Reliance Industries'' eastern offshore fields, the government has said it will ask the Mukesh Ambani company to prioritise fuel sales to fertiliser plants, city gas and existing power plants.

"The government is well within its right to fix sectoral priorities keeping in mind the overall national interest. The empowered group of ministers will in future meetings decide on which sectors should be given priority in allocation," said petroleum secretary M S Srinivasan.

The EGOM had on September 12 approved a price of Rs172.20 per million British thermal unit for RIL''S kg-D6 gas. This was 8.32 per cent lower than Rs187.84 ($4.33 dollars) per mBtu price proposed by RIL.

Srinivasan said the price approved by the EGOM will apply uniformly to all the sectors. "It should not matter to the producer (RIL) as to who uses the gas, as a uniform price will be charged from all."

He, however, said that the government will not allow trading in gas. "The policy clearly states that the gas should be sold to end users and so there is no scope for traders."