Islamabad         -      The Council of Common Interests (CCI) has directed the Petroleum Division to explore the possibility of provincial representation in OGRA and after consultation with provinces shall inform the forum in the next meeting.

In its 42nd meeting the CCI considered the Summary titled ‘Amendment in the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002 (Ordinance XVII of 2002)’ submitted by Government of Sindh, where the Federal representatives have opposed the Provincial demand regarding the inclusion of provincial member in Ogra, according the minutes of the meeting available with The Nation.

During the meeting, Sindh Chief Secretary informed that the subject of mineral oil and natural gas appears at Entry No.2, Part II of Federal Legislative list and under Article 154 of the Constitution of Pakistan, CCI is the competent forum to take appropriate decision. 

Government of Sindh proposed that Section 3 of the OGRA Ordinance-2002  may be amended to incorporate provincial representation in the authority on the pattern of NEPRA which has the present composition of five members i.e. one member from Federal Government as chairman and four members from provinces i.e. one member from each province appointed by Federal Government in consultation with the concerned Provincial Government and a vice  chairman in the Authority appointed among the members for a period of one year by rotation. It was further proposed that the chairman and provincial members may be appointed for a period of four years. 

Sindh Chief Secretary further informed that Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fully supports the proposed amendments while Government of Balochlstan suggests that Provincial Members may be appointed on the recommendation/nomination by Provinces instead of consultation. Government of Punjab suggests that Chairman may be appointed by the Federal Government and four Members one from each Province to be appointed by the Federal Government in consultation with Provincial Governments. 

However, Cabinet Division, Law and Justice Division, and Petroleum Division did not agree to the proposal. Minister for Law and Justice referred to Article 172(3), and mentioned that subject to the existing commitments and obligations, minerals and natural gas within the Province or the territorial water adjacent there to shall vest jointly and equally in that Province and the Federal Government. Ownership and control are two different aspects. Although, mineral oil and natural gas in terms of Entry-2 of Part-II read with Article 154(1) of the Constitution, fall In the jurisdiction of CCI, yet according to Supreme Court‘s judgment in PMDC case, reported as 2018 SCMR 1956, the CCI can only formulate policies and cannot legislate on Federal Legislative list, Part-II whereas Parliament has absolute and unfettered authority to make laws with respect to Federal Legislative Lists without requiring approval or assent from any forum including CCI.