ISLAMABAD - Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority OGRA on Wednesday granted licence for construction of LNG re-gasification terminal to sole bidder M/s Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL).

Federal cabinet in April gave go-ahead to Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL), a subsidiary of Engro Corporation Limited, to construct LNG terminal at Port Qasim Karachi.

According to rules, ETPL had to obtain a licence from Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority prior to the construction of the terminal. After the approval from federal government, OGRA was under pressure from government to issue the licence at the earliest. But, on the other hand, there was a divide in OGRA over the issuance of licence due to submission of incomplete papers/documents by ETPL. Even OGRA was criticised of discriminating when it accepted ETPL licence application on incomplete papers/documents.

OGRA during a public hearing at Port Qasim Karachi, a couple of months ago, reportedly ignored the grievances of stakeholders.

Since April OGRA was reluctant to give any decision. According to sources, the top boss wanted to immediately process the application under government pressure but OGRA staff was reluctant to process any such thing as could later land them in trouble as Touqeer Sadiq case was a nightmare for them. The OGRA boss reportedly took serious action against an officer who denied to process incomplete application of ETPL.

Disappointed from the staff, OGRA chief appointed a private contractor who again hired a private contractor to process the application.

It was learnt that the fee of this private contractor would be paid by ETPL. This private contractor ran after concerned departments and got some of the approvals. It was learnt that the approvals, which this contractor was unable to complete, convinced OGRA that they were irrelevant according to LNG Policy. It was learnt that OGRA chief was pressurised to issue license otherwise he will be removed from his post. It is worth mentioning here that appointments of OGRA chief and Member (Gas) have been challenged in the court and the matter is sub-Judice. According to OGRA officials, ETPL had to submit couple of NOCs and permissions from different departments. It had also to submit an NOC from Ministry of Defense.

The OGRA officials claim that they have received all the documents and on the advice of private contractor (whose fee is to be paid by ETPL) OGRA issued the licence. “ETPL filed an application before OGRA for grant of licence for construction of LNG receiving and re-gasification facility at Port Qasim, Karachi. OGRA examined the application under its rules and also got the application evaluated by an internationally reputed independent consultant, M/s SGS”, the OGRA press release said.

It further said that ETPL provided necessary NOCs from Ministry of Defence and approval of the Port Qasim Authority to OGRA, and after the submission of documents licence was granted. OGRA hoped that this approval of license would help mitigate the energy crisis in the country.