ISLAMABAD - Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources ostensibly in connivance with two state-owned gas utilities and their private shareholders is pressurising OGRA to pass on another Rs 25 billion under the Unaccounted for Gas (UfG) head to the already hard-pressed consumers.

“Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources hands in glove with two state-owned gas utilities and also with their private shareholders is pressurising the OGRA to put 7.58 per cent Unaccounted for Gas (UfG) worth around Rs 25 billion on the over burdened consumers, sources privy to the development told TheNation, adding that however, the regulatory authority has so far proposed 5.46 per cent UfG worth around Rs 10 billion.   

They further informed that a special meeting, on Wednesday, headed by Dr Asim Hussain Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources convened in the premises of Petroleum Ministry. During the course of meeting, the ministry ostensibly in connivance with Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) has forced the regulatory authority to add insult to the injuries of consumers already bearing the brunt of sky-high rates of gas by putting 7.58 per cent UfG on the gas consumers of the country. Further, Managing Directors (MDs) of both gas-distributing companies has sought 9 per cent UfG to be passed on to the emptied pockets of consumers. Further, sources were of the view that as the hearing date of the applications seeking whopping hike in tariff up to Rs 13.16/mmbtu with effect from July for the financial year 2012-13 of both SNGPL and SSGCL in the regulatory authority is in near future so the high ups of the ministry, gas utilities along with their shareholders are in full swing to utilize the pressure tactics to influence the regulator.

However, Ogra in its letter sent to the Petroleum Ministry and Secretary Planning Division has said that the UfG of a Bangladeshi Company Titas Gas was 7.06 per cent during 2004-05. However, the company by controlling the gas theft during 2008-09 set 0.81 per cent UfG. Similarly, the UfG of a Canadian company is 0.86 per cent.  

Available documents have, however, disclosed nervous breaking information that during last two fiscal years (FY 2010-11& FY 2011-12) a heavy amount worth in around 38billions has been additionally collected from the consumers owing to the statement of farmer Petroleum Secretary Petroleum Imtiaz Qazi in Lahore High Court (LHC) on 02 December, 2010 resultantly additional burden of expansive gas was passed on the consumer’s that had added to the miseries of general public and created hue and cry in the society.

Furthermore, in accordance with an Ogra’s letter, Imtiaz Qazi, incumbent Secretary for Water and Power, in his statement to the LHC said that by declaring different sources of earnings of gas companies including putting 2.5 percent UFG on consumers and earning of gas companies (SSGCL & SNGPL) including late payment surcharge, meter-manufacturing plants, sale of gas condensate and royalty from Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL) as non operating income instead of operating income there would be no extra burden on the consumers. However, contrary to the position of then Secretary Petroleum, Ogra had already declared the earning of gas companies generated through late payment surcharge, meter-manufacturing plants, sale of gas condensate and royalty from Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL) as operating income.

Through its letter, Ogra also pleaded to the government to review its decision in the larger interest of general public and necessary initiatives to give an end to the series of exploitations being done with the over burdened gas consumers. 

“In view of above, federal government is requested to revisit its stance in the larger public interest and take necessary actions to vacate the high court’s Stay Order granted against Ogra’s above referred decision”, Ogra’s letter reads.

Similarly, according to sources in Ogra, with accordance to international business rules, earning from above said sources come under operating income and even if it is declared non-operating income then hefty amount worth in billions will go in the pockets of companies’ shareholders. So in a bid to satisfy the expenditures of gas companies prices of gas will have to be made more expansive.

Sources have further informed that due to declaring the income of gas companies from above said sources as non-operating income, shareholders have earned a heavy profit of Rs20 billion.

Likewise, in accordance with Ogra’s letter, SNGPL had faced a loss of Rs12 billion, thus had caused bad impact on gas infrastructure and development work. “ In case of SNGPL, Rs 12 billion of gas development surcharge has been eroded in FY 2011-12 alone”, Ogra letter reads.

It is worth mentioning that SNGPL and SSGCL had sought whopping hike in tariff up to Rs 13.16/mmbtu with effect from July for the financial year 2012-13 from Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority. Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd and Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd have sought whopping hike in tariff up to Rs 13.16/mmbtu with effect from July for the financial year 2012-13 from Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority.