Provinces raise objection to Pakistan Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority bill

ISLAMABAD – The provinces have raised objection to Pakistan Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority bill, saying provinces were not taken on board regarding the amendment in the bill.
In the meeting of NA committee on energy, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has raised objection to Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG), saying that it is unjustified and will increase the burden of the provinces.
The 15th meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Energy (Petroleum Division), which was held under the chairmanship of Dr Imran Khattak, was informed by its member MNA Shahzain Bugti that OGDCL is not paying rent for his lands. Chairman Committee said that the issue of land rent of Shahzain Bugti should be resolved. The committee said that the issue of rent of Shah Zain Bugti’s lands should be resolved according to the decision of the special committee formed by the Prime Minister. Chairman of the committee said that OGDCL should sign a new agreement with Shahzain Bugti in two weeks.
The Committee was briefed about Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG). As per the briefing, the WACOG model is meant for uniformity of pricing mechanism across the country. It will meet the deficiency in the OGRA law to determine consumer price of imported LNG. The representative of the KP government opposed Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG), saying it will increase the burden of the province. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa representative further said that at the time of the bill, the LNG price was lower.
Official of the Petroleum Division said that there is an option for the provinces to have different prices but it will make the situation complicated. Junaid Akbar MNA said that under Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG) Punjab’s burden will be shifted to KP. This move will further increase the deprivation among the people, he added. Secretary Petroleum said that he will take care of these steps in the remodeling of Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG). He said that Petroleum Division has given various suggestions to CCI regarding the average price of domestic and imported gas. Gas companies will file petitions in OGRA under the WACOG Act, he added. Secretary Petroleum said that in March they will complete consultation with gas companies and OGRA regarding WACOG.
The committee was also briefed on Pakistan Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority. Provincial governments raised objections to the proposed authority.
The official of Sindh government said that the amendments in this bill have not been shared with them. Opposing the amendment, the official said that they did not seek the opinion of the provincial government regarding these amendments.
The committee deferred the bill and said that secretary Petroleum and provincial secretaries should come prepared for the next meeting.
Thereafter, the Committee was briefed about the status of recommendations made by the Committee during its previous meetings. The Federal Secretary, Petroleum Division apprized the Committee that 8 employees from the SSGCL were terminated from service on administrative grounds to establish good governance and writ of the management. However, the Committee expressed its displeasure for removal of employees and sought report from SSGCL to be presented in the next meeting. It was further informed that the SSGCL has nominated an officer of the rank of SGM as focal person to deal with the issues of MNAs regarding shortage of gas in their constituencies.
Implementation status of the order passed by Islamabad High Court regarding promotion of employees in OGDCL was also discussed during the meeting. The Committee directed the OGDCL authorities to implement the recommendations/ decisions of Special Committee headed by the Defence Minister Pervez Khattak. The Pakistan Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority Bill, 2022” was also considered by the Committee. However, the Bill was deferred for further deliberations after having inputs from the stakeholders and especially the provincial energy departments.

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