This Article is From Mar 13, 2014

GVK seeks Rs 180-crore refund for surrender of gas blocks

GVK Infrastructure on Thursday said it is negotiating with the government for a refund of Rs 180 crore spent on seven deep-water exploration blocks, which were surrendered last year, a senior group official said.

The company may also take a legal recourse if the government does not heed to the claim, the official said.

"There is a minimum work program (with regards to development of these blocks). The expenditure associated with this program was Rs 180 crore. We will fight for it," GVK Group CFO Issac George told reporters on the sidelines of India Aviation-2014 in Hyderabad.

"Because it is not my mistake. When you (the Government) have given me the blocks, it should be unencumbered also. All of a sudden the Defence Ministry does not allow me to enter into this area... It's not my job," he said.

"We will have to file a civil suit if the Government does not agree in whatever we ask. We are talking to them... dialogue has to continue. I am sure that with dialogue we will solve this problem."

Recently, GVK Oil and Gas Limited, a subsidiary of GVK, issued a termination notice to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas under the production sharing contract.

The GVK-BHP Billiton consortium emerged as winner of seven deep-water exploration blocks off the west coast of India in NELP VII. GVK holds a 74 per cent stake, while BHP acts as operator of all the blocks though holding 26 per cent.

BHP had earlier announced that it exited from nine gas exploration blocks in India, including those with GVK partnership.

He said the company is in consultations with various government agencies, including the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons on the issue and expects a positive outcome.

Mr George also said that the company has received some insurance part payment for the damages to Alalkhnanda power project during the massive floods last year in Uttarakhand.

"Some part payment has been received. Insurance claim is paid in totality after the reconstruction is completed. Under physical damage it will be in the region of Rs 60-70 crore (insurance)," he said.

According to Mr George, the plant will be operational by next month.

GVK Group is developing a 330-MW hydro project on the river Alaknanda in Tehri/ Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.

Replying to a query on the group's participation in the proposed privatisation of six more airports, Mr George said, "We would prefer to go alone if the provisions permit. If they insist on having partners, then we are open for a tie-up as well."