THE bitter feud between India’s Ambani brothers, Mukesh and Anil, has reached a new low…
Earlier this month one of Anil’s companies, Reliance Natural Resources, placed advertisements on the front pages of Indian newspapers, accusing the government of siding with his older brother over Mukesh’s attempts to raise the price of gas from a big field. The government’s actions could lead to “super normal profits” for Mukesh’s Reliance Industries, the ads claimed, and a 50% rise in power bills. Reliance Industries hit back, describing Anil’s media campaign as “malicious, mischievous, baseless and ill-informed”.
The row centres on the pricing of natural gas from one of India’s biggest fields, in the Krishna Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal. In 2005 the brothers agreed that Reliance Industries, which controls the field, would sell gas from its D-6 lease (short for Dhirubhai-6, after the Ambanis’ late father) to Reliance Natural Resources for 17 years at $2.34 per million British thermal units. In 2007 the government stepped in, invoking its right under the lease to vet sales contracts, raising the price to $4.20.
The oil minister, Murli Deora, meanwhile, has said that the gas belongs to neither brother but to India. … but Murli Deora , it has been reported is very close to the Ambani family for many years. And what I cannot understand is …only management of companies have been sorted and not the profits of the group! In fact, the Reliance group profits are equally shared by the Ambani brothers…some earmarked for the sisters too! Whose gas is it anyway? Why can’t the government decide? Why should Anil & Mukesh fight over natural resources that do not belong to them but only leased to one of them….