New Delhi : Reliance Industries has opposed a move to make marketing margin charged by it and other sellers of domestically produced natural gas uniform, while giving gas importers a free hand, saying that it would be a gross discrimination.

RIL, whose 13.5 cent per million British thermal unit as marketing margin on KG-D6 gas is higher than 11 cents charged on gas produced by ONGC/OIL but lower than 18 cents that GAIL charges for western offshore gas, said there was no legal basis to regulate the levy.

 RIL President and COO B Ganguly on November 29 wrote to Oil Secretary debunking oil regulator PNGRB’s reported advice to the government to stipulate a uniform marketing margin for sellers of domestic gas, while giving free hand to sellers of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) and firms selling CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households.

 The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), which was asked by the Oil Ministry to go into different rates of marketing margin charged in the country, has submitted its recommendations.

Stating that the PNGRB Act does not discriminate between different forms of natural gas, RIL said domestic gas sellers have been transparently charging marketing margin in a narrow range as opposed to LNG/CNG operators charing much higher rates in an opaque manner. Marketing margin is charged by sellers to cover costs and risks associated with marketing of natural gas. “Costs and risks are not uniform across all sectors. These depend upon the sharing of risks under Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA), price of gas, associated costs etc,” RIL said.

RIL halts US lobbying for 4th straight qtr

RIL has kept its lobbying activities among US lawmakers on hold for the fourth quarter in a row, after having paid nearly $2 million to its lobbyist here in past few years. Mukesh Ambani-led RIL group continues to retain a lobbyist in the US, where it began lobbying in 2009 for its business activities and other causes. Since then, it has paid about USD 1.9 million (over Rs 10 crore) to its lobbyist, Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC (BGR).

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