Tapan Sen writes to Petroleum Minister regarding theft of gas from ONGC block

12th June 2014
 
Dear Shri Pradhan Ji,
 
Hopefully, you are kindly aware of the fact that the State-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), with the approval of its Board of Directors, has approached the Delhi High Court complaining theft of natural gas from its Bay of Bengal block by the Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL). It is said that RIL is not only pumping gas from its own entitled field, but also from those of ONGC’s reservoir positioned much closed to the common boundary of the blocks in Krishna-Godavari basin to the tune of 18 billion cubic metres of natural gas worth Rs.30, 000 crore since 2009.
 
By analyzing relevant data & other materials, ONGC found that some of RIL’s wells drilled adjacent to the boundary block have been drawing gas from its (ONGC) field and hence chose to sue the RIL in order to protect its commercial interest and natural resources of the country.
 
This situation, as the petition indicated, would have been avoided, had the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) been vigilant while clearing RIL’s field development plan involving drilling of wells at the close proximity of nearly 50 to 350 metres from the common boundary of the blocks with ONGC. As per ONGC petition in the High Court, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and RIL did not adhere to the globally-accepted mechanism stipulated in the production-sharing contract signed by Ministry and RIL for block KG-DWN-98/3.
 
As per report in the print media, “Documents with The Indian Express show that the Exploration Division of the Ministry was regularly appraised of the joint meetings between RIL and ONGC conducted by DGH on sharing geological and geophysical data of their blocks KG-DWN-98/3, and G-4 Godavari and KG-DWN-98/2 blocks. DGH was regularly informing the Joint Secretary (Exploration) who is also on the Board of Directors on ONGC.”
 
ONGC had approached the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) long back with a request to share production and well data of KG-D6 field for analyzing if the reservoir of the neighbouring field has same and continuous gas pool. But, it has been pointed out that, “the watchdog failed to take steps to prevent such a situation, resulting in a loss of crores of rupees to ONGC.” On the other hand, it has also been alleged that the government had not followed the internationally accepted global norm for joint development that had been provided for in the Production Sharing Contract (PSC).
                                      
Under the circumstances there is strong reason to believe that ONGC has been rather forced to approach the Court of Law against RIL after failing to prevent the loss of huge revenue by resolving the issue amicably through every possible manners including intervention of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.  On the contrary in the absence of such step it would have amounted to grave omission on the part of the Maharatna Oil PSU to act to safeguard interest of the nation.
 
In the meantime, it is shocking to note that motivated interpretation of the whole episode is floated and wild allegations against ONGC are being hurled by vested interest with the intention to derail the whole rightful approach of ONGC.  I request you to please ensure that interest of the Government exchequer and commercial right of ONGC is fought at all cost and any motivated ploy by the vested interests is defeated.
 
Latest status of case may be shared please.
 
With regards,

Yours sincerely,
( TAPAN SEN )

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan,
Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas (Independent Charge)
Government of India,
Shastri Bhawan
New Delhi
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