Dec 29, 2012, 10.31 AM IST
Natural-gas producers like Reliance Industries should be allowed to charge market prices, the Plan for next five years adopted by the nation's highest planning body, headed by the Prime Minister, announced.
The 12th Five-Year (2012-17) Plan adopted by the National Development Council (NDC) on Thursday said, "Natural-gas prices charged to producers must be determined by market forces." Currently, majority of the natural gas produced in the country is priced at USD 4.2 per million British thermal unit (mBtu), which is almost a third of the rate at which gas in its liquid form, called liquefied natural gas or LNG, is imported.
RIL and its partner BP Plc have been pitching for market-based pricing for the natural gas produced from eastern offshore KG-D6 fields. "The concept of a uniform gas price across consuming sectors also needs to be examined afresh as the desire to keep prices low for certain sectors tends to distort pricing; it is inconsistent with the principle that the price of gas will be determined by market forces," it said.
Addressing the NDC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that natural gas and coal and other liquid-fuel rates in India were "well below international prices". "If domestic energy prices are too low, there will be no incentive to increase energy efficiency or to expand supply," he had said. "Immediate adjustment of prices to close the gap is not feasible, but some phased price adjustment is necessary."
The demand for natural gas, the 12th Plan document said, will increase from 194 million standard cubic metres per day in 2011-12 to 286 mmscmd in the current fiscal. This is expected to rise to 466 mmscmd by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan in 2016-17.
The Plan document said there was a need for clarity on fiscal incentives on exploration of natural gas under the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP). Currently, a seven-year holiday from payment of income tax is available only for crude oil produced from an area awarded under NELP. Natural gas produced from the same well does not attract any tax incentive. It called for according a'declared goods status' for natural gas/LNG so that it is available at uniform prices in most states.
The Plan document called for eliminating "the uncertainty that has arisen regarding gas-pricing from NELP production-sharing contracts by implementing a new design of contracts". "The recommendation of the Rangarajan Committee may be an important input in finalising this policy," it said. "Appropriate steps should be taken to resolve conflicts in existing contracts where the interpretation of the contract term is open to multiple options."
Reliance stock price
On December 11, 2013, Reliance Industries closed at Rs 881.00, down Rs 2.55, or 0.29 percent. The 52-week high of the share was Rs 954.80 and the 52-week low was Rs 765.00.
The company's trailing 12-month (TTM) EPS was at Rs 67.88 per share as per the quarter ended September 2013. The stock's price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was 12.98. The latest book value of the company is Rs 557.05 per share. At current value, the price-to-book value of the company is 1.58.
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