Islamabad  -  Objecting the role of Petroleum Division in the amendment of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Act, the cabinet division has said that the regulator falls under its administrative control and the Petroleum Division is not competent to undertake the legislation.

The Cabinet Division also opposed the proposal of the provinces for the inclusion of provincial representatives in Ogra, saying that under the constitution the provinces can claim representation only in upstream sector but not in the downstream or mid-stream sector, official source told The Nation.

The provinces are demanding the restructuring of Ogra and supporting the proposal for the provincial representation in the regulator at par with Article 172 (3) of constitution of Pakistan. It is worth mention here that the Council of Common Interest (CCI) in its 42nd meeting considered the proposal of Sindh Government titled Amendments in the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Act and directed Petroleum Division to explore the possibilities of Provincial representatives in Ogra in consultation with Provincial Governments and submit a report in the next CCI`s meeting.

In pursuance of the CCI’s decision, the Petroleum Division coordinated two meetings. In the second meeting which was held during the first week of November, no consensus was achieved as both provinces and federal government were stuck to their respective positions, said the source. During the second meeting, the representative of Cabinet Division opposed the proposal on the ground that Article 172 (3) deals with upstream Petroleum Activities and it has no binding effect on midstream and downstream sector. According the official of the cabinet division the provinces can claim representation only in upstream sector but not in the downstream or mid-stream sector. The official of the cabinet division said that since Ogra is under the administrative control of Cabinet Division and Petroleum Division is not competent to coordinate meetings on amendments in OGRA act.

The source said that the representative of Planning Commission supported stand of Cabinet Division regarding Article 172. However, he proposed that the consent of the provincial representation on issue pertaining to their respective provinces be invariably obtained before taking any decision on the matters enshrined in the Policy and approved by CCI. The Petroleum division had failed to finalise the recommendations on the provincial representation in Ogra and the CCI 43rd meeting, held last week, had to defer the decision on the Ogra’s amendment act.

However, provinces are of the opinion that neither the petroleum division nor the cabinet division is empowered to undertake legislation which is against the constitutional provision.