New Delhi Aug 18 :
Terming it as infructuous, the government and the oil regulator have asked the Delhi High Court to dismiss a petition by the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) which alleged that Reliance Industries had pumped gas from fields it was not entitled to.
The petition, the counsel of the two said in a counter-affidavit, needs to be dismissed on grounds of it becoming redundant after the appointment of an independent agency to ascertain the matter.
“The writ petition filed by the petitioner (ONGC) has become infructuous owing to the appointment of the independent third party DeGolyer and MacNaughton,” the counsel of the government and the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons pleaded in near-identical counter-affidavits, seen by IANS.
“The writ petition in its present form is vexatious, pre-mature and is liable to be dismissed,” the counter-affidavits added.
Both sought the dismissal with exemplary costs in the interests of justice and asked the court to pass such orders and provide further relief as it deemed fit.
The plea by ONGC alleged that Reliance was not only pumping gas from its own entitled fields in the eastern offshore, but also from those of ONGC.
An expert panel had been mutually agreed by the state-run explorer and Reliance Industries to ascertain if the private firm had, indeed, pumped more gas than entitled.
The agreement was also conveyed to the Delhi High Court.
Reliance had told the court that independent expert panel alone can determine if its gas well is interconnected with ONGC and thereby ascertain the quantum of gas drawn by it, it any, was away from its actual entitlement.
The Delhi High Court’s Justice Manmohan had asked ONGC to file its reply by Aug 12.
The state-run firm’s plea said its petition was necessitated by the belief, based on seismic data it claimed was made available by Reliance, that in exploiting its own assets, it also extracted gas from the ONGC blocks.
The petition further said the regulator failed to take steps to prevent such a situation, resulting in a loss to ONGC.
It also alleged the government had not followed the internationally accepted global norm for “joint development” that had been provided for in the production-sharing contract.