New Delhi: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Sunday asked the Centre to nominate users for incremental gas from its Bay of Bengal fields, saying it had not denied natural gas to any government-identified customer.
Rubbishing charges by the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-Adag) that RIL was “hoarding” gas and creating “artificial scarcity”, RIL executive director and head of its oil and gas business P.M.S. Prasad said customers for about one-fourth the initial 40 million standard cu. m per day of gas (mscmd) of gas from its KG-D6 fields are yet to draw the gas because of failure at their ends.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL), which is fighting a legal battle with RIL for obtaining gas at a price of $2.34 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), a discount to the price set by the government, had alleged that RIL was deliberately under-producing gas to create artificial scarcity.
In a letter to petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey, Prasad said that of the customers identified by the government to receive the initial 40 mscmd, NTPC Ltd, Dabhol Power, Essar Steel Ltd and GAIL (India) Ltd are yet to draw a single unit.
NTPC, which was allocated 2.7 mscmd, is yet to sign a contract, while Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd—the owner of Dabhol—has signed a contract for 2.7 mscmd but has not begun drawing the gas yet. Essar and GAIL between them are expected to start taking 4 mscmd of gas by next month.
“Of the allocated quantity of 40 mscmd, allocation to the extent of 9.4 mscmd remains unoperational till date,” he wrote. “No customer who has been allocated gas by government has been denied gas for reasons attributable to RIL.”
An RNRL spokesperson said RIL’s letter “conclusively demonstrates that customers are not willing to buy gas at these high prices”.
(A ‘Mint’ staff writer contributed to this story.)