CAG slams OilMin, DGH for poor monitoring of RIL KG-D6 block

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The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has slammed Oil Ministry and its technical arm DGH for not exercising enough control and vigil over Reliance Industries' KG-D6 block which led to losses of several hundred millions of dollars to the exchequer.

From not approving budgets for the year at the beginning of the year and monitoring expenditure according to the approved plan, the ministry was castigated for allowing costs of unapproved drilling programme and allowing RIL to retain area without any discovery.

CAG in a draft report on its second audit of spending on the eastern offshore KG-D6 block, said: "the monitoring mechanism at the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG)/DGH was far from being effective as it had not been able to ensure compliance with some of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) provisions in letter and spirit."

KG-D6 production has not matched the capacity of the facilities RIL created in the Bay of Bengal fields. Besides, expenditure incurred has overshot the approved plan.

"As of March 2012, the operator (RIL) has incurred expenditure of $ 5.76 billion on the development of D1-D3 gas fields as against the approved cost of $ 5.20 billion for Phase-1.

"The actual spend has increased though the operator has informed that the cost of Phase-I was mainly based on commitments/contracts already finalised," the CAG report said.

A RIL spokesperson did not offer any immediate comment on the CAG findings.

CAG said the onshore gas receipt terminal was constructed at the cost of $ 827.68 million as against estimated cost of $ 550.87 million while six sub-sea manifolds were installed at the cost of $ 80.10 million as against estimated cost of $ 70.81 million.

'Pipelines' and 'pipeline end manifold' were installed at the cost of $ 1.019 billion as against the estimated cost of $ 906.92 million.

Also, control cum riser platform (CRP), which serves as a hub for receiving gas production from deepwater pipeline before sending it onshore, was constructed at a cost of $ 571.39 million as against estimated cost of $ 446.83 million.

CAG said in none of the four years beginning 2008-09, the work programme and budget (WP&B) was approved before start of the fiscal as provided in the PSC.

"The WP&B is one of the most important tools available with the (block oversight panel) Management Committee to exercise monitoring and control over the operations of the block. MC did not effectively utilise this control. Consequently, there was inadequate budgetary/financial control over operational activities leading expenditure open ended," it said.

CAG said DGH (Directorate General of Hydrocarbons) had disallowed $ 160.81 million cost incurred on three appraisal wells RIL drilled in the block as they were past the PSC timelines.

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