BG-Reliance apology to ONGC in cash call row

Vol 16, PW 5 (20 Sep 12) People & Policy

British Gas and Reliance have issued a grovelling apology to ONGC in a simmering row over unpaid cash calls at the PMT joint venture.

In identical letters dated August 29, BG and Reliance expressed, “sincere regret for any misunderstanding created by or any lack of protocols followed” in their (also identical) letters sent a week earlier. BG and Reliance added that they “regret that it was interpreted that the letter blamed ONGC for the situation.

” In dispute are unpaid bills totalling $15.4m and Rsr34cr ($6.4m) which BG and Reliance say ONGC has not paid towards its share of work at the PMT fields. In a curious double-act worthy of Laurel & Hardy, BG vice-president Adam Hillier and Reliance general manager Pradeep Panda outdid each other on August 22 when in identical letters they said ONGC’s failure to pay was disrupting payment to contractors Schlumberger, Halliburton, Greatship, Mercator, Global Vectra and MI Overseas.

“There is no legitimate basis,” said Hillier & Panda, “for ONGC’s continuing failure to pay cash calls, particularly in circumstances where ONGC continues to benefit from the work carried out by the contractors and the production from this field.” This letter provoked a furious reaction from Anil Kumar Jain, in charge of PMT for ONGC, who replied: “This has shocked us tremendously, especially keeping in view that all the efforts up to the highest level were being made jointly to find a solution to the approval of a Management Resolution in respect of the Work Programme and Budget for 2011-12 and 2012-13.

” Jain adds: “It needs to be appreciated that the issue involved is not a creation of ONGC, and therefore blaming ONGC is highly uncalled for.”

LNG Summit