ISLAMABAD        -      The government has decided to separate gas transmission pipelines from the distribution network under its Ease-Of-Doing-Business (EODP) policy aimed at creating an environment of competition among public and private sector companies.

“Major restructuring on the pipelines side by converting them into ‘open access pipes’ is in the offing and during the next two years, the government intends to separate transmission from distribution and open up the sector for use through private supplies and open access,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, he said, was committed to completely overhaul this sector.

The official said the government’s footprint in the coming years in the energy as well as other sectors was going to shrink. “It is not only the government’s stated policy, but fervent desire and intention,” he said adding that it was not the government job to decide who had the muscle, market clout and power to succeed. “It is for the market to decide.”

He said the Petroleum Division, as per the vision of prime minister, had devised a prudent strategy, which would eventually attract local and foreign investments. “Increased investment will ultimately create more and more job opportunities.”

He said the strategy was aimed at encouraging new players in the petroleum sector that would oust inefficient from the industry. “An environment of competition will be ensured, ending the monopoly of individuals.”

Answering a question, he said Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) had executed as many as 39 pipeline projects during the last six years to reinforce transmission network in their respective operational areas. The SNGPL and SSGC initiated around 16 and 23 infrastructure development projects respectively, “Out of which several have been completed fully and some partially till date,” the official said.