New Delhi: In yet another controversial move, the Union petroleum and natural gas ministry is seeking to lift a court-imposed ban on the sale of gas from the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin.

Joint platform: A file photo of R.S. Pandey (right) with SAIL chairman S.K. Roongta at a seminar. Vijay Verma / PTI

“There is an injunction in the court. The government has requested the court to lift it," R.S. Pandey, petroleum secretary, said on Wednesday. “If the injunction is not lifted, gas production can’t take place. If production can’t take place, gas can’t be utilized."

A shortage of natural gas supply in the country is expected to ease after Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), controlled by Mukesh Ambani, starts production of the fuel from its KG basin field next year. RIL started producing oil at the field last week.

The Bombay high court, hearing a dispute over the price at which natural gas from the offshore field will be sold, has restrained RIL from selling the gas to companies other than state-run NTPC Ltd and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL), promoted by Ambani’s estranged younger brother Anil Ambani.

NTPC and RNRL have filed separate lawsuits over the rights to the KG basin gas .

The case took a dramatic turn last month when NTPC counsel T.S. Doabia told the court that the power generation utility did not have a “concluded" deal with RIL over the supply of gas. His statement was seen as weakening NTPC’s position in the lawsuit.

This led Anil Ambani to allege that the ministry of petroleum and natural gas had joined the case to help RIL. On Wednesday, Pandey declined to comment on Anil Ambani’s charges because the matter is in the courts.

(Bloomberg contributed to this story.)