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PMT gas fields case: Govt moves SC against RIL-named foreign arbitrator

PMT gas fields case: Govt moves SC against RIL-named foreign arbitrator
It sought removal of Peter Leaver QC, who was appointed the arbitrator after May 28, 2014, order of the apex court setting aside a Delhi High Court order by which it had agreed to hear the government’s plea against the arbitration proceedings in London. A Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant issued notice to RIL and said the only legal question involved was whether the Centre can invoke the jurisdictional issue when review and curative petitions have been dismissed by the apex court.

The court posted the matter for hearing on April 15 on the Centre’s submission made by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that there was a need to change the arbitrator who allegedly has been biased. The apex court on May 28 last year had allowed the plea of RIL arbitration in London over its dispute with the Centre on the Panna, Mukta and Tapti oil and gas fields. It had said that the high court committed “jurisdictional error” in agreeing to hear the government’s plea. The court had said that in the production-sharing contract, RIL and the Petroleum Ministry had “consciously agreed” for
arbitration in London in case of any dispute.

Tapti, Panna and Mukta fields were awarded to a joint unincorporated venture of Reliance Industries and Enron Oil and Gas India Ltd in 1994 after biddings. In 2002, BG Exploration and Production India Ltd acquired the share capital of Enron Oil and Gas India Ltd.

The production-sharing contract was to be operative for a period of 25 years expiring in 2019. In December 2010, differences arose on issues of payment and reimbursement of royalties, cess and service tax, and conduct of performance audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, following which Reliance invoked foreign arbitration clause. At the start of the arbitration itself, the government had challenged the arbitrability of the disputes. In December 2009, the arbitral tribunal rejected the Centre’s objection to arbitrability of the disputes.

The government then moved the Delhi High Court challenging the arbitral tribunal’s December 2012 order. The government had contended that arbitration should not proceed under foreign laws as the contracts were signed and executed in India and the subject matter of the contract--the Panna, Mukta and Tapti fields-- were also in the country.

Reliance Industries starts 2 polyester plastic plants

Reliance Industries Ltd on Friday announced the commissioning of two petrochemical plants for making polyester plastic used in clothing, packaging, foods & beverages and plastic bottles.

RIL said it has commissioned a 1,150 kilo tons per annum Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) plant and a 650 KTA PET resin (Polyethylene Terephthalate) capacity at Dahej in Gujarat.

PTA is used for making polyester plastics that are used in the production of everything from clothes and home furnishings to drinks bottles.

PET is a form of polyester (just like the clothing fabric) that is extruded or molded into plastic bottles and containers for packaging foods and beverages, personal care products, and other products.
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