One of the vital questions the highly public feud throws up is: who owns the gas?

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) are fighting a legal battle over the supply of gas from the former’s D6 block in the Krishna-Godavari basin.

At the core of the dispute between the Ambanis is a family pact between the two brothers that has never been publicly seen in its entirety and which explains how the assets of the Reliance group are to be carved up between them. It is on the basis of this agreement that Anil Ambani’s RNRL is laying claim to gas from Mukesh Ambani’s RIL.

Reuters reports: Any decision by the Supreme Court could set a basis for future regulations on gas pricing in India, and could determine whether Reliance Industries, the country’s most valuable listed company, makes or loses billions of dollars in potential profits on gas sales.

Here is a chronology of events that leads upto the apex court judgement.

7 May 2010 | Ambani vs Ambani | Oh brother!

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Reliance Industries Ltd in the battle between it and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd over the supply of gas. Where does that leave Anil Ambani? Read story

Acute Angle | R. Sukumar Of public fights and private agreements

In a broader context, it could mean that because the agreement isn’t valid, either brother is free to enter businesses in which the other has interests — the agreement, which has never been made public, was reported to have a strong non-compete clause Read full column

Anil Ambani leaves the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Friday. Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Keeping Track (Graphic)

Harmony to Discord (Graphic)

Verdict’s shadow over NTPC-RIL spat

The lawsuit between NTPC and RIL in the high court dates back to December 2005, with the point of contention being the existence and terms of a valid contract between the two. Read story

Mark To Market | Manas Chakravarty RIL flares, but R-Adag singed

RIL’s victory will allow it to sell gas at the government approved rate of $4.2 (Rs191.52) per mmBtu instead of $2.34 per mmBtu. Read full column

6 May 2010 | RIL-RNRL verdict on Friday, 10:30 am

A verdict was expected before 11 May, as Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, part of a three-judge bench that heard the case, is set to retire on that date. Read story

Also Read | The Anatomy of a Dispute

28 April 2010 | RNRL shares up on hopes of favourable verdict in gas dispute

RNRL shares gained 6.34% to Rs66.25, their biggest one-day percentage gain in almost three months. Read story

(From left to right) RIL chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani and RNRL chairman Anil Ambani. AFP Photo

18 December 2009 | SC reserves order in Ambani gas dispute

The apex court said it will give its verdict on the gas dispute at a later date after both the parties concluded their oral arguments. Read story

17 December 2009 | RNRL protest RIL’s counter in SC

RNRL was objecting to the contention made by RIL that the 12 May draft agreement between NTPC and RIL for fixing the price of gas from the KG Basin was subject to government approval. Read story

16 December 2009 | KG gas dispute hearing to conclude on Friday

Mukul Rohatgi, counsel for RNRL, also argued that the gas supply purchase agreement was not a suitable agreement. Read story

15 December 2009 | RNRL says GSPA unbankable

RNRL counsel Mukul Rohatgi alleged in the SC that price, tenure and quantity which are fundamental to any contract, have been kept completely uncertain in the Gas sale and purchase agreement(GSPA) which was signed unilaterally by RIL on January 2006. Read story

8 December 2009 | RNRL-RIL gas dispute enters its last lap in SC

RNRL has filed a fresh affidavit on Tuesday claiming that the government would not suffer any loss if RIL sells gas to RNRL at the disputed price of $2.34 per million British thermal unit. Read story

19 November 2009 | Setback for RNRL in KG gas case

Supreme Court allows petroleum ministry to become party to dispute; Reliance Natural drops objection. Read story

18 November 2009 | Gas row: Suitable arrangement must be approved by govt

It said the 2005 family MoU between the Ambani brothers cannot override the public policy on the gas supply and utilization. Read story

17 November 2009 | Gas not a private property of Ambani brothers: Govt

Gas is not the private property of RIL or RNRL and any understanding arrived at between them is not binding upon the government, additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran told the Supreme Court. Read story

13 November 2009 | Reliance Ind withdraws affidavits

It had earlier said the company’s board had not approved and was unaware of the 2005 family agreement. Read story

13 November 2009 | RNRL seeks questioning of RIL directors

In another development RIL filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the family MoU initiated by Mrs. Kokilaben cannot override any decision which the board of directors of Reliance might take. Read story

4 November 2009 | SC judge withdraws from Ambani brothers’ case

A senior Supreme Court judge withdrew from the case saying his daughter is associated with a solicitors firm advising the Mukesh Ambani group on other projects. Read story

28 October 2009 | SC indicates arbitration as an option for Ambanis

RIL and RNRL had approached the Supreme Court against the 15 June verdict of the Bombay high court, in which it had asked RIL and RNRL to sign a “suitable arrangement" for the supply of gas. Read story

Edit | Shareholders or promoters?

21 October 2009 | Supreme Court starts hearing RIL-RNRL gas case

The court will decide if the government and power and fertilizer producers can become party to the dispute. Read story

20 October 2009 | RIL not part of Ambani family MoU; pact is between brothers

RIL board had not approved the family MoU that provides for supply of gas by the company to RNRL, RIL’s senior counsel Harish Salve told the apex court. Read story

19 October 2009 | Gas dispute enters last lap

The Union government, in a reply to RNRL’s contention, asserted its right to file a petition in the Supreme Court against the Bombay high court verdict of 15 June. Read story

19 October 2009 | Govt files reply to RNRL affidavit in Supreme Court

RIL contends that it cannot sell the gas at a price below government-approved rate of $4.2 per mmBtu. Read story

16 October 2009 | Ambani brothers to square off in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday start hearing arguments in the case between Reliance Industries, headed by Mukesh, and Reliance Natural Resources, led by Anil, over a deal to sell gas to RNRL at below-market rates as per a family settlement. Read story

12 October 2009 | Anil Ambani offers Mukesh olive branch

There could be no better gift to their mother in her 75th year, Ambani said. Read story

8 October 2009 | RIL says it hasn’t treated gas as private property

RIL said it had acted throughout in line with provisions of the production sharing contract and other policies of the government. Read story

7 October 2009 | RNRL to make Rs350,000 cr profit from gas trading: RIL

RIL also claimed that Adag’s power firm would make a windfall profit of Rs70,000 crore as the entire fuel cost will be passed on to the consumer. Read story

6 October 2009 | Battle lines drawn as RIL files SC reply

RIL and RNRL had approached the Supreme Court against the verdict of the Bombay high court on 15 June, which had asked RIL and RNRL to sign a “suitable arrangement" for the supply of gas. Read story

6 October 2009 | RIL refuses gas to RNRL, says it cannot consume fuel

RNRL does not have existing plants capable of using the gas, RIL told the Supreme Court. Read story

1 October 2009 | Mukesh-Anil fight to impact energy blocks auction: Govt

“Any fight between corporates has a negative impact. No fight has a positive impact," said V K Sibal, Director General of Hydrocarbons. Read story

25 September 2009 | Marketing margin to add to controversy

R-Infra received a notice from RIL regarding suspension of supplies because it did not pay the marketing margin. In response R-Infra said it will not pay the “illegal" marketing margin. Read story

18 September 2009 | RNRL asks SC to dismiss Govt plea on Ambani gas matter

Since government is not a party to the dispute but only an intervener as its share of gas was protected under the production sharing contract and is completely outside the purview of the disputes between RIL and RNRL. Read story

16 September 2009 | Reliance Infra asks RIL to withdraw marketing margins on gas

Reliance Infra has written to RIL, which is supplying 0.55 mmscmd gas to the Anil Ambani group firm under an agreement signed in April this year. Read story

16 September 2009 | RNRL wants SC to make NTPC party to its case against RIL

RNRL said RIL had adopted the same malafide design of inserting unsuitable terms in the respective gas supply agreements with RNRL and NTPC to renege from its binding obligations. Read story

10 September 2009 | RIL, govt’s stand in gas spat challenged

RNRL’s reply is its first detailed one to the petition filed by RIL in the Supreme Court, appealing a Bombay high court decision in favour of the former. Read story

9 September 2009 | RIL contract provides no govt role in gas price fixation: RNRL

The two sides had approached Supreme Court challenging a decision by the Bombay High Court on 15 June, which said RIL should provide 28 million cubic metres of gas per day to RNRL. Read story

27 August 2009 | Oil ministry may file for defamation against RNRL

The ministry is contemplating slapping the suit on RNRL over a claim that government share from KG-D6 initially will be just Rs500 crore, while RIL will earn a super-normal profit of Rs49,500 crore. Read story

26 August 2009 | R-Adag ad blitz ends; govt, NTPC ready to act

“We will file SLP (in the Supreme Court) within the next six to seven days," power secretary Hari Shankar Brahma told reporters in New Delhi. Read story

22 August 2009 | Ambanis should patch up in national interest: PMO

The official said that the reports in a section of media were not true that Singh has suggested the two brothers to follow a middle-path to resolve their ongoing dispute. Read story

12 August 2009 | Deora meets PM, explains stand on gas pricing row

The ministry had written to Singh saying that the Ambani family MoU that provides for RIL to supply gas to RNRL will “harm the public interest". Read story

11 August 2009 | Ambani gas pact flouts government authority, says oil ministry

Anil Ambani had on 15 July written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a direction to the oil ministry to stop favouring RIL in a commercial dispute with RNRL. Read story

9 August 2009 | Will Ambani case hit Deora sales pitch?

Overseas investors will closely watch the ministry’s roadshows as well as its stance in the RIL-RNRL gas dispute. Read story

8 August 2009 | Not favouring Mukesh: oilmin to PMO

The petroleum ministry has informed the Prime Minister’s Office that it has not shown any favouritism to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries. Read story

8 August 2009 | RIL breaks silence, launches offensive

The Supreme Court will hear their cross appeals on a ruling of the Bombay high court on 1 September that RIL should supply gas to RNRL at $2.34 per mmBtu. Read story

7 August 2009 | Govt says no to RIL gas field nationalization

Deora asserted that the days of nationalization are over and that the govt has nothing to do with the private dispute. Read story

6 August 2009 | RNRL keeps up pressure; RIL remains silent

Reliance Power’s Chalasani asked the government to publicize the CAG report on RIL costing. Read story

4 August 2009 | RIL Vs RNRL | Deora tries to clear the air over gas

The government only wants to protect its own and public interest, the minister for oil and gas tells Parliament. Read story

30 July 2009 | SC rejects RNRL plea for final hearing on 1 September

RIL counsel Harish Salve, however, questioned the need for early final hearing, saying “what public interest would this serve?" Read story

30 July 2009 | Gas deal not based on mere family agreement

RIL has created a situation where our power plants stand delayed by over three years, only because of the wrongful conduct of the company, says Anil Ambani. Read story

29 July 2009 | RNRL seeks final hearing on 1 September

The company separately served notices on RIL and the petroleum ministry, which Anil had on Tuesday accused of siding with his elder brother Mukesh group firm in the dispute. Read story

23 July 2009 | Mukesh Ambani meets law minister, legal experts

No details could be obtained about what transpired in the meeting late Wednesday night and an RIL spokesperson declined to comment. Read story

20 July 2009 | SC seeks explanation on Reliance gas deal

Asks RIL, RNRL why pact should not be cancelled; clears way for Govt to be party in case; sets 1 September for next hearing. Read story

20 July 2009 | SC sets 1 Sept hearing in Reliance gas dispute

The apex court has scheduled its next hearing in the dispute between RIL and RNRL over a gas supply agreement for 1 September. Read story

18 July 2009 | Govt wants Ambani pact declared ‘null & void’

The Special Leave Petition was filed by the petroleum ministry, a day after it filed an affidavit in response to Mukesh-led RIL’s petition in the Supreme Court challenging the high court order. Read story

18 July 2009 | KG gas row enters last lap in court

Spat between the companies, run by the Ambani brothers, turns ugly; govt seeks apex court nod to intervene. Read story

16 July 2009 | Ambani feud exposes risks for investors

Dispute seen adding to India investment risk; Supreme Court to hear case on 20 July; Calls grow for government to step in. Read story

16 July 2009 | RIL, RNRL making their cases in Delhi

The legal positions of both companies, interestingly, revolve around the role of the government. Read story

8 July 2009 | Govt not a party in gas dispute case in SC: RNRL

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued notices to RIL, RNRL and the Centre on cross-appeals by both the companies on their gas supply dispute. Read story

8 July 2009 | Last act of RIL-RNRL gas saga begins

Apex court asks the companies, controlled by the Ambani brothers, to reply to each other’s appeals by 20 July. Read story

3 July 2009 | RNRL moves Supreme Court on KG gas pricing dispute

RNRL has been claiming rights to 28 million standard cubic metres of gas a day for 17 years at $2.34 per million British thermal unit, 44% lower than the price set by the government, from RIL’s gas fields in the Krishna-Godavari basin. Read story

16 June 2009 | High court ruling a boost for R-Adag

RIL, RNRL told to forge an agreement within a month at a price 44% lower than that stipulated by the govt. Read story

30 January 2009 | HC allows RIL to sell KG basin gas subject to final verdict

Bombay HC lifted the stay on KG basin gas sale, noting that it was necessary as RIL had projected that gas production from KG basin may start by February end. Read story

11 December 2008 | Govt withdraws affidavit in RIL-RNRL case

In its affidavit filed last month, the government had also said that RIL could not sell KG basin gas at a price less than $4.20 per million British Thermal Units. Read story

Edit | Gas pricing and rule of law

11 November 2008 | Apex court dismisses intervention plea in KG basin gas dispute

Currently, the gas being extracted along with oil is being injected back into the ground because of a lack of agreement on who it should go to. Read story

1 October 2008 | RIL’s legal battle over KG basin gas splits oil, power ministries

Bone of contention is order restraining RIL from selling gas to cos other than NTPC, RNRL till dispute is resolved. Read story