Greka lands itself in another payment dispute

Vol 19, PW 23 (28 Jul 16) People & Policy

First it was dragged to court by little-known Arabian Oilfield Supplies and Services.

Now Greka Drilling is embroiled in another payment dispute with Bengaluru-based subcontractor Petropath Fluids (India). Petropath managing director Bhaskar Naik tells this report Greka owes his company Rs2.63cr ($438,000) for drilling fluids and chemicals supplied while drilling CBM wells for Essar at the Raniganj East field.

Petropath also wants Greka to pay Rs64 lakhs ($106,000) in outstanding interest. Greka hired Petropath in September 2014 but only formally signed a contract on December 15, 2014.

Naik admits his dispute with Greka is a direct fall-out of the UK-listed company's deteriorating relationship with Essar. By May 2015, he says, relations between Essar and Greka had worsened to the point where Essar refused to provide a Letter of Credit forcing Greka to stop drilling.

Months later Greka told Petropath to take back its chemicals from the Durgapur site after drilling only 16 of the 100 contracted wells. "We asked Greka to pay," says Naik, "because the chemicals were exclusively bought for 100 wells." Left with no choice, Petropath on August 19, 2015 filed a case against Greka with the Micro and Small Enterprises Facilitation Council in Bengaluru, a quasi-judicial body set up to help resolve disputes.

On July 2, the Council referred Petropath and Greka to the Karnataka Arbitration Centre where both parties must select an arbitrator by July 29.