Court tells Ambani brothers to work out new gas price formula

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has asked Reliance Industries Ltd and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd to decide on a new gas price as the rate of $2.34 per mBtu agreed in the family demerger agreement had already been rejected by the government.

Delivering the final verdict in the gas supply row between Mukesh Ambani`s Reliance Industries and Anil Ambani''s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd, Justice Anoop V Mohta said RIL cannot be forced to sell gas from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields to firms at subsidised rates and incur losses.

"The respondents (RIL) cannot be directed to sell or supply gas at subsidised rate and to incur losses," he said.

The government had recently approved a market-determined price of $4.20 per mBtu for gas from KG-D6.

Delivering part of the verdict on 15 October, the court said the government''s entitlement to profit petroleum from the total production will be reduced if gas is sold at sub-market price or if gas is undervalued.

RIL "cannot be compelled to commit such breaches to face the risk of termination of the contract (for KG-D6) itself."

The court, however, said the gas supply agreements between RIL and RNRL, entered into in January 2006 with Mukesh Ambani presiding over both RIL and demerged RNRL, was in breach of the demerger scheme and asked the two to renegotiate the same within four months.

Under the demerger agreement, RIL is to supply RNRL 28 mmscmd of gas and an additional 12 mmscmd in case RIL`s deal with NTPC fails.

The court`s restrain on RIL from selling gas meant for RNRL to third party would continue for the period.