ISLAMABAD-The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday allowed Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to issue new licenses to re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) based CNG stations with the provision that the licensee would neither receive indigenous gas or can claim for its conversion to indigenous gas.

The ECC, which was chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh at the Cabinet Division, has considered the summary of petroleum division for grant of new CNG licences to absorb the imported RLNG. The imported RLNG that is becoming surplus in the country after the recent government decision to remove mandatory 66 per cent purchased RLNG for three Punjab-based power plants of about 3,900mw for better privatisation proceeds.

The ECC has approved the summary of petroleum division and allowed OGRA to issue new CNG Licenses to RLNG based CNG stations. However, the ECC has linked the permission with the provision that the Licensee would neither receive indigenous gas or can claim for its conversion to indigenous gas. The ban on the issuance of new licenses was imposed since 2008.

In January 2008, the then caretaker prime minister, Mohammad Mian Soomro had directed that, new CNG licences in the pipeline should be held up and CNG connections should not be given except to those who have already imported CNG machines. Later in April 2011, the then prime minister had imposed a moratorium on provision of new industrial and commercial gas connections across the country with immediate effect for a period of six months. On the expiry of the said moratorium, Mr Gillani approved certain proposals with respect to the CNG sector in September 2011 under which Ogra issued marketing licences to the prospective applicants. 

In January 2013 PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf took up a summary submitted by the erstwhile Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and again put a ban on issuance of new provisional licences for setting up of CNG stations. The ECC has also constituted a three member committee consisting of Secretary Finance, Secretary Commerce and Secretary National Food Security (as the chairman of the committee) to negotiate the price of wheat with the Russian Government for the further procurement of wheat. The ECC in last week had approved the import of 180,000 MT (Million Tonne) of wheat from Russia on GTG (Government to Government) basis by waiving off all taxes/levies duties on the import of wheat.

In terms of wheat import by the public sector, TCP has already opened an LC for importing 330,0000 MT of wheat while TCP is in the process of tendering another about 1.2 Million Tonnes. Around 330,000 MT of wheat when imported by TCP shall be distributed equally among 3 recipient agencies i.e. PASSCO, Punjab and KP (110,000 MT each).

ECC allowed SNGPL (Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited) for the recovery of previous revenue shortfall as well as enabling SNGPL to manage the load of the domestic/ commercial sectors by diversion of RLNG in the approaching winter. ECC allowed allocation of 8 MMCFD gas from Mangrio discovery and 4 MMCFD of gas from Mithri gas discovery for M/s SSGCL (Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited).