ISLAMABAD - PPP-led government, in a bid to clip the powers of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) is all set to bring its control under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources only to materialise the vision of Premier’s Advisor on petroleum and natural resources.

Failing to get Ogra nod over imported LNG and LPG projects, Advisor to the PM for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain hell bent to bring Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) under the control of Petroleum Ministry, sources said on Saturday.

 Informed circles told TheNation that Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has summoned a high level special meeting on Monday over the request of Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources. As the regulatory authority had consistently been opposing imported LNG and LPG projects at higher rates because of various reasons, so Dr Asim Hussain has now resolved to clip the powers of Ogra by utilising the powers and authority of the Premier. Petroleum Minister had been found desperate for smooth sailing of imported LNG and LPG projects to the country. It is said Ogra had also rejected the idea to fleece the consumers by Rs15 billion on account of gas theft (Unaccounted for Gas) of the two state-owned gas utilities.

It is also learnt that in the meeting, Ogra chairman would brief the participants about the role of Ogra and would plead that regulator should continue functioning under Cabinet Division in the supreme interests of the oil and gas consumers and also inline with international practices.  Further, to put Ogra under the umbrella of the MP&NR is also against the rights of consumers. The meeting would be headed by the Prime Minister and the Advisor to PM would also attend the special meeting along with senior officials of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and Ministry of Law and Cabinet Division, Power Ministry and Ogra.

It is to be noted here that at present, all the regulatory bodies such as Nepra, Pemra, Ogra, SECP, Irsa and PTA are working under Cabinet Division.

Sources also told that another proposal to be taken up in the special meeting for discussion would be about the merger of Ogra and Nepra. They said with this initiative of Petroleum Ministry, the jurisdiction and powers of Ogra would be completely ended. They were of the view that implementation on this proposal would not be an easy task till the merger of Petroleum and Water and Power Ministries. Again, control of Ogra was tantamount to further increasing government influence in the regulatory regime.

The Ogra has opposed LNG import on the existing terms and conditions by disagreeing with the ministry on six points. The regulator in a letter written to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has opposed the ‘relaxed rules’ for import of LNG and has asked for transparent and competitive environment for bidding to ensure price of imported LNG at affordable level.