NIKO RESOURCES LIMITED Vs. GUJARAT STATE PETROLEUM CORPORATION GSPC
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
NIKO RESOURCES LIMITED
GUJARAT STATE PETROLEUM CORPORATION
Click here to view full judgement.
V.N. Khare, J. -
(1.)These are two petitions filed by the applicant under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) for appointment of an arbitrator on behalf of the respondent in accordance with article 13 of joint operations agreement (in short hereinafter referred to as JOA") dated 13/5/994 read with article 31 of production sharing contract (in short hereinafter referred to as P SC ) dated 23.9.1994 entered into between the parties.
(2.)The applicants company is incorporated in Canada having its registered office at 1980, 700-4th Avenue, S.W. Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The applicant company is engaged in business of oil and gas exploration and mining. On 23.9.1994, in pursuance of bids invited by government of India for development of petroleum resources in the area known as Hazira field, a P SC was entered into between the President of India on the one hand and the Gujarat State Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd, (in short GSPC) and the applicant on the other hand for exploitation of petroleum resources. The applicant and GSPC were jointly designated as the contractor under the contract. The aforesaid P SC defines the rights and obligations of the parties and duration of contract is for 25 years. It is alleged that pursuant to the P SC , the contracting parties also entered in JOA to define their respective rights and obligations with respect to operations to be conducted under the P SC . The said agreement was signed on 5.12.1994 at New Delhi. The JOA contained clauses relating to conduct of joint operations, functions and duties of the operator, the manner of conducting and effecting operational programme etc. It is alleged that the applicant constructed a 14 km long. 36" pipeline from Hazira gas field to village Mora in the state of Gujarat which was built as a part of the joint operations. It is further alleged that the parties decided to implement the pipeline project in respect of the cost recovery status of the project. It is alleged that a dispute arose between the parties as a result of action on the part of the respondent in seeking to act in contravention of the terms and conditions of JOA and the illegal action on the part of the respondent in seeking to unilaterally expropriate the pipeline and transfer the same to the third party. The dispute in arbitration petition no, 1/2001 was with regard to the recovery of cost of the laying of pipelines. It is further alleged that, by a letter dated 7.6.2000 GSPC informed the applicant that the pipeline project was taken over by them and subsequently transferred to Gujarat State Petronet Ltd. (in short GSPL) a subsidiary of GSPC. On 17.7.2000, GSPL wrote to the applicant asking them to appoint a commissioning coordinator to prepare the staff and the equipment to commission the pipeline. It is alleged that by letter 24.7.2000, the applicant refused to recognise the GSPL. According to the applicant, since the dispute having arisen between the parties with regard to operations, ownership, control and management of 36" pipeline as a result of action on the part of the respondent in seeking to act in contravention of the terms and conditions of the JOA, the said dispute could only be resolved by taking recourse to the arbitration, as provided under JOA. In that view of the matter, the applicant sent a letter to GSPC whereby GSPC was requested to appoint an arbitrator so that arbitral tribunal, as contemplated in the agreement could be constituted for the purpose of adjudicating the disputes between the parties.
(3.)The applicant informed the GSPC about the appointment of Honble Mr. Justice P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India as its arbitrator. It is further alleged that after the applicant invoked the arbitration agreement, the respondent instead of appointing the arbitrator in terms of the said arbitration clause, wrote to the applicant showing its unwillingness to appoint an arbitrator by letter dated 29.9.2000. It is under such circumstances, the applicant has filed these two petitions being arbitration petition Nos. 1 & 7 of 2001 before me.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.