Petrocon demands $4.2m refund from Hindustan Petroleum

Vol 7, PW 10 (30 Jul 03) News in Brief

Dispute over the dollar-rupee exchange rate is behind a row between Hindustan Petroleum and Petrocon India, formerly Videocon Petroleum.

Petrocon has written to oil minister Ram Naik accusing Hindustan Petroleum of short-changing it by Rs19.2cr ($4.2m) for crude it sells from the Cairn Energy-operated Ravva oil and gasfield where it is part of the consortium. Petrocon argues that HPCL's dollar-rupee calculation is wrong and wants the money repaid in full with interest.

Ministry bureaucrats are unmoved by Petrocon's shrill protests and tell PETROWATCH they are awaiting the result of an arbitration decision on a similar dispute with operator GeoEnpro over crude from its Kharsang field. "Petrocon's request cannot be agreed to at this stage," reveals a source.

"The decision on Kharsang will apply to Petrocon." In 1999, Reliance also raised similar questions about crude sales from its Panna and Mukta oilfields.