Timeline of Reliance Krishna-Godavari gas dispute

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New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Following is the chronology of events surrounding the dispute over gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, between the Anil Ambani group and his elder brother Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries:

February 1999: A consortium led by Reliance Industries, under the chairmanship of Dhirubhai Ambani, emerges as the winner of a global auction for an exploration block in the basin, called KG-DWN-98-3, or the KGD6.

March 2000: The name of the contractor changed from Reliance Platforms Communications to Global Fuel Management Services and then to Reliance Natural Resources.

April 2000: Reliance Industries and the government execute production-sharing contract.

October 2002: Significant discovery of gas reserves announced from KG-D6.

September 2003-May 2004: Reliance Industries submits bids for supply of gas to state-run NTPC.

April 2004: Production sharing contract executed and tabled in parliament.

June 2004: Reliance Industries signs memorandum of understanding with Uttar Pradesh government for world’s largest gas-based power plant with a capacity of 3,500 MW at Dadri near Delhi.

June-July 2004: Reliance Industries selected and letter of intent issued by NTPC.

June 2005: Memorandum of understanding to reorganise Reliance Industries signed between Ambani brothers. Anil resigns as joint managing director.

August 2005: Brothers sign non-compete pact. Reliance Industries board approves scheme of de-merger.

September-October 2005: Application filed with Bombay High Court for scheme of de-merger. Shareholders approve scheme.

December 2005: Court sanctions de-merger. Financial services, telecom and power businesses transferred to Anil group. Mukesh keeps other businesses.

Jan 12, 2006: The board of directors of Reliance Industries approves pact that calls for 28 million units of gas to be supplied to Anil Ambani group and up to 40 million units if the contract with NTPC does not materialise.

February 2006: The board of Reliance Natural Resources reconstituted.

February-July 2006: Reliance Natural Resources seeks permission from oil ministry to lay pipelines for transporting gas from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Dadri. Reliance Industries asks ministry to approve gas price at $2.34 per unit based on bids called by NTPC. But permission denied.

Nov 8, 2006: Reliance Natural Resources takes the dispute to court. Later, company wants Reliance Industries to be restrained from selling 28 million units of gas to any third party. Also wants similar sanction for 12 million units if NTPC contract does not materialise.

May 3, 2007: Court allows Reliance Industries to sell gas in the interim, subject to its final order.

August 2007: Reliance Industries invites bids for price and quantity for sale of KGD6 gas and asks oil ministry to approve sale at $4.32 per unit.

September 2007: Ministerial panel approves gas price formula at $4.20 per unit.

October 2007: Government sets gas distribution priorities with first preference to existing fertiliser, cooking gas, and steel units, as also new power plants like the Dadri project.

May 2008: Empowered group of ministers approves a gas utilisation policy.

Jan 30, 2009: Hearings conclude in Bombay High Court. Interim order passed allowing Reliance Industries to execute sale to various customers for five years in accordance with government policy.

March 2009: Oil ministry finalises gas allocation from KGD6 for fertiliser and power companies.

June 15, 2009: Division bench of Bombay High Court upholds the gas agreement and directs Reliance Industries and Reliance Natural Resources to enter into a gas supply pact within a month.

June 19, 2009: Reliance Natural Resources files caveat in apex court on gas price issue after Bombay High Court order upholds its position on the gas price in its dispute with Reliance Industries.

June 23, 2009: Reliance Natural Resources invites Reliance Industries for talks on high court judgement, but Reliance Industries says it is studying the implication.

July 1, 2009: Reliance Industries says it will appeal to the Supreme Court against high court ruling. Says supplies to Reliance Industries not possible at $2.34 per unit, as it is bound by government price of $4.20 per unit.

July 3, 2009: Reliance Natural moves Supreme Court to make gas supply from KGD6 binding on Reliance Industries.

July 4, 2009: Reliance Industries moves apex court challenging high court orders saying the verdict erred in deciding the three terms — quantity, tenure and price of gas supply.

July 5, 2009: Reliance Industries makes government a party in its petition. Oil ministry files special leave petition asking for the family pact to be declared null and void.

July 7, 2009: Apex court issues notice to Reliance Industries, Reliance Natural Resources and the government on cross-appeals.

July 17, 2009: Oil ministry asks court to make it a respondent.

July 18, 2009: The government withdraws the original petition wanting Ambani family pact that deals with gas supplies to be declared null and void.

July 19, 2009: Government says gas is sovereign asset hence it alone can decide whom it should be sold to, how much and at what price.

July 20, 2009: Supreme Court calls for counter-replies and fixes Sep 1 as date of hearing.

July 22, 2009: Prime Minister’s Office wants oil ministry to explain why it has been accused by the Anil Ambani Group of siding with Reliance Industries over gas dispute.

July 28-Aug 3, 2009: Gas issue rocks parliament, where Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav demands resignation of Petroleum Minister Murli Deora. But Deora says gas does not belong to either Mukesh or Ambani, but the government.

Aug 4, 2009: Amidst allegations of favouritism, oil regulator V.K. Sibal rejects Anil Ambani Group’s charges of acts of omission and commission in allowing capital expenditure of KGD6 gas to be hiked from $2.4 billion to $8.8 billion.

Aug 28, 2009: Reliance Industries says NTPC was told gas price of $2.34 was subject to government approval. Apex court lists hearing for Oct 20.

Sep 14, 2009: Reliance Natural Resources accuses Reliance Industries of charging illegal marketing margins.

Sep 15, 2009: Anil Ambani Group asks apex court to make NTPC a party to dispute.

Sep 24, 2009: NTPC signs pact with Reliance Industries to buy a part of natural gas, other than the quantity under dispute, at $4.20 per unit.

Oct 5, 2009: Reliance Industries says chairman Mukesh had signed pact on natural gas with Anil Ambani Group in personal capacity without approval from other board members.

Oct 11, 2009: Anil Ambani says two brothers can still sit across the table and resolve matters amicably, but Reliance Industries says only court can settle matters now.

Oct 20, 2009: Supreme Court starts hearing gas dispute.

Nov 2, 2009: Anil Ambani marks surprise presence in apex court.

Nov 4, 2009: Justice R.V. Raveendran withdraws from the three-member bench on the grounds that the firm for which his daughter worked had in the past provided consultancy to Reliance Industries.

Nov 5: Supreme Court begins hearing case afresh with Justice B. Sudershan Reddy joining the three-judge bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam.

Dec 18: Court reserves verdict after the conclusion of arguments that lasted 27 days spread over nine weeks.

May 7, 2010: Court says government is undisputed owner of natural gas and directs the two companies to reach a gas supply agreement within six weeks.

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