Ratna file yet to go to finance ministry

Vol 10, PW 25 (19 Apr 07) News in Brief

No movement is reported on the long-drawn out saga of the pending PSC for the Ratna and R Series fields offshore Mumbai.

PETROWATCH learns the oil ministry has yet to send the Ratna file to finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram for his opinion on whether cess (tax) and royalty should be paid at 1995 rates or higher rates prevailing now. “We have yet to make out a proposal and flesh it out for the finance ministry,â€‌ says an oil ministry source.

There's no certainty on when the file will be sent to Chidambaram and no explanation for the delay by the oil ministry. Law ministry officials have already said cess and royalty should be charged at the old rates, but oil minister Murli Deora is unconvinced and wants Chidambaram to give his personal view.

Awarded in 1995 to a consortium of Premier Oil (operator), Essar Oil and ONGC, the PSC remains unsigned over a number of issues, first among consortium partners and now between the consortium and the ministry.