The one-man committee is looking at engaging an independent domain expert to assist it
New Delhi: The A.P. Shah panel looking into migration of Oil & Natural Gas Corp. Ltd gas to Reliance Industries’ Ltd (RIL) fields has sought comments from stakeholders including the private firm’s partner BP on the issue, and is looking at engaging an independent domain expert to assist it.
The justice (retired) A.P. Shah committee, constituted by the oil ministry to fix responsibility and compensation for natural gas from ONGC block migrating to RIL fields, has begun work and held one round of meeting, people familiar with the matter said.
The one-man committee has sought written comments from ONGC, the directorate general of hydrocarbons (DGH), the oil ministry and BP on gas flowing from ONGC blocks in KG basin to neighbouring fields of RIL.
While BP has agreed to cooperate with the committee, the other partners in the KG-D6 block—RIL and Niko Resources of Canada—are boycotting it, questioning its legality.
People familiar with the matter said the panel is also looking at engaging a neutral domain expert to assist in understanding the complex issue and the report of US-based consultant DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M) that established 11.12 billion cubic meters of natural gas, worth over ₹ 11,000 crore, had migrated from idling fields of ONGC to adjoining KG-D6 block of RIL.
An oil ministry official who did not want to be identified said the Shah committee was set up under orders from the Delhi high court, which had been petitioned by ONGC seeking compensation for its gas flowing to RIL blocks.
If RIL or Niko are aggrieved about the report of the Shah panel in the end, they have the option of telling the court about it. By not cooperating with the committee, they are only trying to delay reaching an early settlement, the official said.
When reached for comments, a BP India spokesperson said, “We confirm informing the committee of our willingness to cooperate."
D&M, which was appointed mutually by RIL and ONGC under orders from the Delhi high court, in its 30 November report established that reservoirs in ONGC’s KG basin blocks KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5) and the Godavari-PML are connected with Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1 and D3) field located in the KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6) block of RIL.
RIL in a letter to the panel on 31 December wrote that “the government of India can appoint a committee, or the government can deal with any issues on the dispute or for the dispute by constituting a committee."
“Furthermore, it is RIL’s respectful submission that the office memorandum (of oil ministry that set up Shah panel) is apparently not rooted in any statutory power and is also contrary to the substantive as well as the dispute resolution provisions of the PSC," RIL wrote. PTI