India’s Reliance Industries has fired back at claims from the head of compatriot Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) that it has been drawing gas from a neighbouring block in India’s Krishna Godavari basin.
Reliance said it was “saddened” by comments attributed to ONGC managing director DK Sarraf by the Press Trust of India last week.
“We deny the claim of apparent ‘theft’ of gas from G4 & KG DWN 98/2 Block by Reliance Industries and can only attribute it to the likelihood of some elements in ONGC misleading the new [chairman and managing director], Mr Sarraf, in order to hide their own failure to develop discoveries made over the last 13 years in these blocks,” Reliance said in a statement.
ONGC has claimed that Reliance could be extracting gas it is entitled to from reservoirs that straddle the boundary of its blocks and the latter’s D6 Block.
The pair have since started the process to appoint an independent agency to investigate the issue of possible reservoir connectivity across the blocks.
Reliance said it met with ONGC on 9 May to exchange drafts regarding the scope of the work to be assigned to the independent agency and then met again on 23 May to finalise the enquiry notice that was to be issued on Monday to four agreed agencies.
“Since the process for appointing this agency as per international practice was already well underway it is indeed unfortunate that some elements in ONGC forced invocation of the Delhi High Court at this juncture,” Reliance said.
“Resolution of such complex techno-commercial matters, that are not un-common in the oil and gas industry, is best done through the help of experts rather than public posturing.
“In any case, ONGC having already filed a petition in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, we would have expected greater restraint in a matter that has been made sub-judice by them.”
Despite the recent issues between the companies, Reliance said it would continue to assist ONGC.
“We continue to see ONGC as a valued Industry peer, worthy of collaboration, to whom we will continue to provide assistance to help develop its discoveries and start production of valuable gas locked beneath the Indian Ocean to the benefit of the people of India,” it said.