HC sets aside single judge order asking Govt to extend oil contract with Vedanta till 2030

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside a single judge order directing the Centre to extend till 2030 its production sharing contract (PSC) with Vedanta Ltd and ONGC to produce oil from the Barmer oil field in Rajasthan.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the central government's appeal against the single judge's order of May 31, 2018 order in favour of Vedanta, formerly Cairn India.

The detailed judgement is yet to be uploaded on the high court's website.

The central government had claimed that the PSC with Vedanta will fall under the new policy for such contracts. The contention was opposed by the company.

The single judge had held that Vedanta was entitled to extension of its contract, which was to expire in 2020, for a further period of 10 years on the same terms and agreements when it was first entered into in 1995.

While the government's appeal was pending, the PSC was being extended from time to time for brief periods since May 2020.

The May 31, 2018 order had come on Vedanta's plea for extension of the PSC which the company and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) have with the government to extract oil from the Barmer block in Rajasthan ONGC had communicated its approval for extension of the PSC in July 2016, after which the Centre had assured the court it would positively take a decision by October of the same year.

However, later it had sought more time as it was framing a uniform policy with regard to all such PSCs.

Vedanta had moved the court after its request to the government in 2009 to extend the PSC did not elicit any response. It had claimed that the delay in a decision by the government was preventing it from infusing further investment of over Rs 30,000 crore in the project.

In its plea before the single judge, Vedanta had said that the estimated recoverable assets in the block were about 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, of which 466 million barrels are expected to be recovered beyond current PSC period until 2030.

Besides, it was also producing natural gas from the block and supplying it to government companies, the company had claimed. PTI HMP DV DV