Legacy in India
We are very proud of our 20-year history in India, where we have been a model corporate citizen, invested significant sums in exploration and production and created a legacy asset in Rajasthan which has generated billions of dollars of revenue for the Government of India. Our investments have been seen in India and around the world as a great example of what can be achieved through collaboration between India and international companies.
Government of India – International Arbitration
In January 2014, we received notice from the Indian Income Tax Department (IITD) requesting information relating to the Group reorganisation in 2006. The IITD attached the 10% shareholding in Cairn India Limited, then valued at approximately US$1 billion.
The company received a draft assessment order from the IITD in March 2015 and subsequently filed a Notice of Dispute under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty in order to protect its legal position and shareholder interests.
The company commenced international arbitration proceedings against India in 2015 following the retrospective taxation actions undertaken by the IITD in 2014.
More than five years later on 22 December 2020, the international Tribunal made a unanimous award in favour of the Company. The Tribunal found that the Government of India’s actions beginning in 2014, by the previous administration, were in breach of its obligations under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.
It further ruled that the application to the Company of the retrospective tax amendment introduced by the GoI was “grossly unfair” and in breach of the “Fair and Equitable Treatment" standard of the Treaty.” It awarded to the Company damages equal to the enforcement actions taken against it, being US$1.2 billion plus interest and costs.
In August 2021, the Indian Parliament introduced the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, which has certain amendments to the retrospective taxation measures that were introduced by the Finance Act 2012.
Cairn has entered into undertakings with the Government of India in order to participate in the scheme introduced by recent Indian legislation, the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, allowing the refund of taxes previously collected from Cairn in India. Subject to certain conditions, the Taxation Amendment Act nullifies the tax assessment originally levied against Cairn in January 2016 and orders the refund of INR 79bn (approximately US$1.06bn) which was collected from Cairn in respect of that assessment. Cairn is working collaboratively with the Government of India towards expediting the refund within the process of the Tax Amendment Act Rules.
Investment in India
The Company first invested in India in the 1990s when it became one of the first international businesses to participate in the country’s oil and gas industry. our investment in India saw the company transform the Ravva oil and gas field, which was producing at c.3,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) when we took over operatorship in the mid 1990s. Within 18 months, production had increased to 50,000 bopd. Ravva is still in production more than two decades later, having produced more than 365 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), significantly higher than the original estimates, while production is now expected to extend into a fourth decade.
We subsequently transformed India’s oil and gas industry with the discovery of the Mangala oil field in Rajasthan in January 2004. It was one of the biggest ever hydrocarbon discoveries in India and was quickly followed by the additional Bhagyam and Aishwarya oil discoveries nearby. Today, Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwarya fields together have gross reserves of ~ 2.2 billion boe.
The Company ultimately made more than forty discoveries in the area. We constructed the world’s longest heated pipeline (c.600km) to take the crude from the Mangala Processing Terminal to the coast, with production commencing in August 2009. A decade later, the terminal still provides more than a third of India’s entire crude oil production.
The fields have had a significant economic impact on the local economy. As well as directly creating thousands of skilled jobs, they have stimulated growth in other sectors, meaning that the Barmer district of Rajasthan (home to Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwarya fields) now boasts an average income 40% higher than the national average and is the second largest contributor to Rajasthan’s GDP. In the last decade, Our discoveries have generated revenues of more than US$20 billion for the state and national government.
The Company has been a model corporate citizen and created a legacy asset which is seen as an example of what can be achieved through partnerships and foreign direct investment.