September Deadline Set for Operatorship Dispute of Indian Fields

ONGC confirmed local media reports that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had served it, along with BG Group and Reliance Industries an ultimatum to resolve the operatorship of the Panna Mukta and Tapti offshore fields by September, or prepare for government intervention. "We have been told to amicably settle our dispute over operatorship of the fields latest by September or else the government will intervene," Subir Raha, ONGC's chairman and managing director, said. According to local media reports, BG rejected ONGC's offer for a joint operatorship of the fields which are located off India 's western coast.

BG signed a renegotiated US$350 million deal last year to acquire the upstream assets of Enron Corp., but failed to close the transaction due to a dispute with ONGC over the operatorship, or management rights, of the fields. Enron was the operator and held a 30% stake. ONGC holds a 40% stake in the Panna-Mukta and Tapti fields while Reliance Industries owns the remaining 30%.


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