Shares of Reliance Industries took a beating on Thursday on speculation that the company will have to pay a hefty compensation to ONGC for pumping out the public sector giant’s east coast gas. The scrip fell to an intra-day low of Rs.893.4 on the BSE. It recovered but still ended the day 2.7 per cent lower than Wednesday’s close of Rs.913.85.
According to reports doing the rounds, the preliminary findings by DeGoyler and MacNaughton (D&M), the Dallas-based company that is investigating ONGC’s allegations of RIL taking advantage of reservoir connectivity in the Krishna Godavari Basin, suggested that RIL may have extracted 12-18 billion cubic metres of gas from ONGC’s fields, and would need to pay Rs.12,000 crore in compensation.
But those associated with the two companies told BusinessLine that deliberations among D&M, ONGC and RIL are still going on in Dallas. According to another source, while a consensus has emerged on ‘reservoir continuity’, the valuation issue is yet to be examined.
A government spokesperson said “the Ministry for Petroleum & Natural Gas is yet to receive the report”. Sources in ONGC and RIL also maintained that the consultant report was yet to be received.
On September 10, the Delhi High Court, while disposing ONGC’s petition, had asked the government to take a decision within six months of the submission of the consultant’s report. ONGC had claimed that it had lost Rs.8,000-9,000 crore worth of gas while its lawyers, according to sources, were bandying a number in the region of Rs.30,000 crore.