D6 gas court decision soon

Vol 13, PW 21 (08 Apr 10) News in Brief

Expect a Supreme Court of India ruling shortly on the Ambani brothers D6 gas pricing dispute.

According to an industry source the court must decide in April or latest by May before Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan retires aged 65. “Otherwise it will have to hear the appeal all over again with a new chief justice,” he says.

Balakrishnan heads a three-judge bench that must rule whether Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries (RIL) should supply 28m cm/d of D6 gas at $2.34/mmbtu to Reliance Natural Resources, controlled by his brother Anil, in line with a disputed demerger agreement brokered by their mother in 2005. Last June a Mumbai High Court order instructed RIL to comply, but RIL appealed, saying this would breach a central government directive to supply gas at a minimum $4.2/mmbtu.

RIL believes it will win the appeal, backed by the central government, which asserts that it is ‘sovereign’ owner of D6 gas, not the Ambani family. Final arguments were heard in mid-January.

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