"The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has submitted suggestion for improving the dispute resolution mechanism," he said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.
    
The suggestions include encouraging conciliation proceedings on disputes arising out of interpretation and implementation of oil and gas field contracts and examination.
    
Besides, examination by multi-disciplinary team and executive committee of DGH on potential litigations, the DGH also favoured "timely appointment of arbitrators by the government (and) appointing arbitrators having domain expertise," he said.
    
Also, DGH wants powers be delegated to it to create its own panel of law firms/advocates and deciding on their fee. It also wants vetting of proposal by an Adivsory Committee for referring the matters to sole expert/conciliation, he said.

Listing pending cases with arbitrators, he said there were nine arbitration proceedings - three pertaining to Reliance Industries' eastern offshore KG-D6 block and one each with Videocon Industries, Niko Resources of Canada, Cairn Energy, Assam Company and Hindustan Oil Exploration Company. An arbitration proceeding is also on over relinquishment of four blocks by RIL.
     
Pradhan, however, did not mention the fifth arbitration notice RIL had slapped last month challenging his Ministry's decision to take away 814 square kilometre of its eastern offshore KG-D6 area that contained five gas discoveries holding close to 1 trillion cubic feet of reserves.
    
"Prompt actions are being taken in all the cases by the government for early resolution as per the production of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC)," Pradhan said.
     
The government, he said, has recently come out with a Policy Framework for Relaxation, Extensions and Clarifications at the Development and Production Stage under the PSC Regime for Early Monetisation of hydrocarbon discoveries, through which many issues pertaining to different blocks have been resolved.
     
The government has signed 310 PSCs so far in pre-NELP field and exploration bidding rounds and New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) exploration bidding rounds, out of which 150 contracts are presently operative.

"The proposal of DGH shall be approved, if they are in conformity with the views of the Ministry of Law and Justice as well as in conformity with the provisions of PSCs," he said.

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