Companies & Sectors
RIL challenges Oil Ministry taking away five KG-D6 gas finds

RIL said the October 2013 order breached its right to retain the fields and the time for approving these discoveries 'never expired' as the Management Committee, had agreed to a phased approach for their development

 

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has slapped an arbitration notice challenging a decision by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) to take away 814 square kilometres of its eastern offshore KG-D6 area that contained five gas discoveries.
 
As per norm of giving up non-discovery area, RIL had in 2013 offered to give up 5,385 sq kms out of a total 7,645 sq kms area in Krishna Godavari (KG) basin KG-D6 block. But the Ministry on 30 October 2013 ordered 6,198.88 sq kms of total area to be taken away as the time allocated for producing from these had expired.
 
On 14th January, RIL challenged this order stating the 814 sq kms of additional area that the Ministry had taken away contained five gas discoveries holding close to 1 trillion cubic feet of reserves.
 
Sources said the company in the notice demanded that the dispute on taking away the area be referred to arbitration, the relinquishment order be withdrawn and compensation be paid for breach of contract by the government.
 
As per norms, a contractor is allowed to retain only that area where discoveries have been made. But in case of KG-D6, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) ordered larger area to be taken away as RIL had allegedly failed to develop the finds within the stipulated time-frame.
 
RIL in the notice has said that the October 2013 order breached its right to retain the fields and that the time for approving these discoveries 'never expired' as the block oversight panel, called the Management Committee, had agreed to a phased approach for their development.
 
The company claimed that the order was based on the "erroneous premise" that it had failed to submit a development plan for these fields.
 
"In fact, the contractor had submitted the field development plan for all nine satellite discoveries (including the Second Phase Satellite Fields), and it had never withdrawn the FDP," RIL wrote to the ministry.
 
The ministry, however, believes that RIL had passed the timelines for submitting appraisal and field development plans and that there was no provision in the production sharing contract to extend the appraisal period.
 
Sources said the ministry plans to reject the arbitration notice as the timelines for developing the five discoveries -- D4, D7, D8, D16 and D23, had lapsed and no development plan was submitted.
 
Also, RIL did not submit declaration of commerciality for D-5 and D-18 discoveries, the period for which has also expired, they said.
 
RIL and government are locked in two arbitration cases over the KG-D6 block -- one pertains to $1.8 billion in cost being disallowed for gas production not meeting targets and the other over government deferring gas pricing guidelines.
 

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Anonymous takes down 800 Twitter accounts linked to IS

Hacking group Anonymous had declared war against Islamic extremists and last month had warned that they would take down all their websites and social media networks

 

Hacking group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for taking down 800 Twitter accounts, 12 Facebook pages and over 50 email addresses as they were linked to Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
 
According to CNN, Facebook said that it had shut down 11 out of 12 pages listed by Anonymous because they breached its rules. However, Twitter has not yet commented on the issue.
 
Facebook declined to comment on whether the company was alerted by the hackers about the offending content.
 
Last month, Anonymous group had declared war against Islamic extremists and said in a YouTube video that they would take down all their websites and social media networks.
 

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AAP receives I-T notice over donation from fake companies

The I-T department's notice refers to the allegations from a break-away group, AVAM, that AAP had received funding from dubious companies in March last year

 

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday said it has received a notice from the Income Tax (I-T) department over the donation issue and is ready to face any probe.
 
AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena said the notice was sent to the party's Patel Nagar office by the I-T Department.
 
"We are open for any probe by the Income Tax department or the Enforcement Directorate (ED). We want this issue to be probed so that these allegations can be put to rest. But while welcoming the probe, we also want a special investigation team (SIT) to probe political funding of all political parties and not just AAP," she said.
 
The notice refers to the allegations from a break-away group, AVAM, that AAP had received funding from dubious companies in March last year.
 
The notice states that the party had allegedly received four cheques from different companies on 31 March last year.
 
According to the notice dated 9th February -- a day before the counting, the I-T department found that the four companies from which AAP had received its donation are prima facie not "genuine", and neither the company nor their directors are available at the address. It has also asked AAP to produce 'book of documents or accounts' before the department.
 
Marlena said if the companies were dubious, then there should be an independent investigation to probe the companies as well.
 
"We will respond to the notice as we have nothing to hide and there is no fault of ours. How does one verify the address of a company, which does not exist? We had received cheques.
 
"It is not the job of the party to verify the addresses since it does not issue cheque books, which are mostly delivered at residential or office address by banks," said another party leader.
 

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