HC rejects Yeddyurappa’s bail plea

The Lokayukta court, which exempted former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa from personal appearance on health grounds on Saturday, however, had directed him to appear before it on Monday

Bangalore: In a setback to former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, the Karnataka High Court on Monday dismissed his anticipatory bail application in connection with alleged irregularities in denotification of land, reports PTI.

Justice L Narayana Swamy dismissed the application filed by MR Yeddyurappa, who had sought bail apprehending arrest.

Mr Yeddyurappa, who was admitted to a private hospital after suffering from high fever, diabetes and hypertension, has to appear before the Special Lokayukta court on Monday at 3.30pm as per its 27th August order.

The Lokayukta court, which exempted Mr Yeddyurappa from personal appearance on health grounds on Saturday, however, had directed him to appear before it on Monday.

The Lokayukta court on 8th August had issued summons to the former CM and 14 others on a private complaint filed by advocate Sirajin Basha alleging irregularities in denotification of land acquired by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and thereby causing loss to the state exchequer.

The high court had reserved its orders on anticipatory bail plea on 26th August.

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Oil India mulls diversification into city gas distribution

"City gas distribution and piped gas distribution are potential areas which we have been identified for diversification. We also intend to tap shale gas, since the price of natural gas is rising," OIL director for exploration & development Baikunta Nath Talukdar said

Mumbai: State-run Navaratna oil explorer Oil India (OIL) is chalking out an expansion and diversification strategy that could also include an entry into the city gas distribution space, reports PTI.

"We plan to pursue a cautious strategy for our exploration initiative. We are looking for sure-bets, because exploration is a risky activity. Even when it comes to domestic exploration, we intend to bid for the next NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) auctions very selectively," OIL director for exploration & development Baikunta Nath Talukdar said here.

The company is considering entering the gas transportation market since it already has expertise in laying pipelines and transporting gas through pipelines. "We would like to market our gas directly to consumers. We may tie-up with a gas marketing company for this," Mr Talukdar said.

"City gas distribution and piped gas distribution are potential areas which we have been identified for diversification. That apart, we also intend to tap shale gas, since the price of natural gas is rising," Mr Talukdar said.

With respect to overseas exploration ventures, the company plans to focus its efforts on fields that have already been discovered. Earlier, the company had set aside 40% of its surplus funds for exploration initiatives. Now, that figure has risen to 52%.

OIL also intends to improve recovery from existing oilfields. It is already engaged in increasing the productivity of mature oilfields by inducting new technologies and company has begun horizontal drilling in some fields to enhance recovery.

Nevertheless, the diversification strategy will be conservative, with OIL sticking to areas in which it has some expertise, Mr Talukdar said.

Oil India has also picked up a 26% stake in the Numaligarh Refinery, as well as a 23% stake in the pipeline through which it supplies gas to the refinery.

"The pipeline business is attractive. Besides, we already have experience in this area. We also plan to pick up a 10% stake in the Dibrugarh gas cracker plant, to which we will be supplying gas," he said.

The Dibrugarh plant is promoted by state-run Gas Authority of India.

The company has had its share of set-backs. It could not discover oil in its exploration acreages in Libya and the process of relinquishing these blocks is on. It plans to write off the Rs56.8 crore expenditure incurred on the unsuccessful venture in Libya, a company official said.

Last week, the company had hinted at a possible asset-buy in Africa by picking up a stake in the exploration assets of Gabonian firm Etablissements Maurel et Prom.

"The block already has a discovery. We have our own people evaluating it, besides experts from other countries. A decision will be taken on our investments in Gabon after a feasibility study," Mr Talukdar had said.

The company also has a 3.5% stake in a consortium that bought oil wells in Venezuela.

"We will be producing around 400,000 barrels of crude, of which we will be entitled to 14,000-15,000 barrels. Production should begin by the third quarter of calendar 2012. Initial production will be sold or swapped," OIL director Nripendra Kumar Bharali had said.

The state-run upstream firm has invested $450 million in Venezuela's Orinoco super heavy oil belt. The asset is believed to hold around 3 billion barrels of reserves.

Oil India is a part of a consortium that includes Spanish explorer Repsol, ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil and Petroleos de Venezuela SA of Venezuela. However, recoveries under the project are expected to be low, because of the 'super heavy' nature of the crude.

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Reliance Industries overtakes ONGC as most-valued company

In the past few days, a veritable game of musical chairs has been played out between the country's three most-valued firms on the bourses

Mumbai: Reliance Industries (RIL) today reclaimed the numero-uno position in the domestic market capitalisation charts, racing past state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to emerge as the country's most-valued company yet again, reports PTI.

With a market value of Rs2,42,283 crore at 10:27am this morning, RIL surpassed ONGC's market cap of Rs2,38,270 crore to reclaim the top position.

On Friday, ONGC had toppled billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led RIL to claim the title of the country's most-valued company.

Shares of RIL went up by 3.49% to touch an early high of Rs744.65 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today. The surge in the bellwether stock was a significant contributor to the overall bullish trend in the market, with the benchmark Sensex trading higher by 348.39 points at 16,197.22 at 10:27am.

The share price of ONGC, too, rose by 1.43% to touch an early peak of Rs282 on the BSE.

At the end of Friday's trade, RIL had a market cap of Rs2,35,571 crore, while ONGC commanded a market value of Rs2,37,842 crore.

RIL had first toppled ONGC to become the country's most-valued firm way back in late 2006, but the state-run energy giant later reclaimed the top position, albeit only for a few brief period.

In the past few days, a veritable game of musical chairs has been played out between the country's most-valued firms on the bourses.

Earlier, on 17th August, state-run Coal India (CIL) had dethroned RIL to become the country's top-valued firm.

Then, two days later on 19th August, RIL briefly slipped to third position in the valuation charts, after CIL and ONGC, only to reclaim the No 2 position by the market close.

CIL's stint at the top proved to be short-lived, with RIL reclaiming this position within six days on 23rd August.

A day later, on 24th August, CIL lost further ground and slipped to third position in the valuation charts after RIL and ONGC.

CIL continues to be the country's third-most valued company, with total market capitalisation of Rs2,31,052 crore this morning.

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