Can’t sacrifice our position just to see Cairn-Vedanta deal through: Jaipal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 07, 2011


Royalty, cess need to be sorted out, says Petroleum Minister

Despite the pressure on the Petroleum Ministry to take an early decision on the Cairn-Vedanta deal, the Petroleum Minister, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy, maintained that “there are issues relating to royalty and cess. We cannot sacrifice our position completely just to facilitate the deal.”

Mr Reddy was speaking to newspersons after Sir Bill Gammell, CEO, Cairn Energy, and Mr Rahul Dhir, CEO, Cairn India, met him. The Petroleum Minister said the officials of Cairn met him and expressed their concerns about the uncertainty and delay in regard to clearance of the Cairn-Vedanta deal.

Three-week time-frame

“I told them that we are trying to deal with questions as quickly as possible. The matter is being taken to the Cabinet. The Cabinet will be looking at the question very quickly, in a time-frame of three weeks,” he added.

Asked whether Cairn had sought a decision by February 20, he said, “They were worried about their time-frame. I told them I am naturally concerned about the time-frame…but, there was a larger date of April 15 (for concluding the transaction). It is not easy to work to such a tight schedule. Cairn should be able to accommodate the three weeks' time that Cabinet will take to decide.”

Cairn Energy is selling its majority stake in Cairn India to Vedanta Resources. On whether the British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, had written to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on the deal, Mr Reddy, while acknowledging it, said, “Such pressures are natural, we have to address our concerns.”

“There are issues relating to royalty and cess (raised by ONGC). We cannot sacrifice our position completely just to facilitate the deal,” the Minister said, adding it was necessary to assure foreign investors about fair play in India.

No extending deadline

After his meeting with the Petroleum Minister, Sir Bill Gammell, CEO, Cairn Energy, said his company will not go back to its shareholders seeking an extension of the deadline. He said his company continues to be in dialogue with the Government to secure the necessary approvals to conclude the deal by April 15.

“I'm confident that things will move further satisfactorily,” he added.

Published on February 19, 2011

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