ISLAMABAD: The Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat has approved the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Committee met with MNA Kishwar Zehra in the chair at the Parliament House, on Thursday.
The Committee has asked the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to assert its regulatory authority and address the issue of overbilling by the gas distribution companies. The committee after discussion approved the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which aims to ensure natural gas pricing on a regular basis.
After this amendment, the OGRA shall eliminate gaps between regular, semi-annual tariff determination and notification.
According to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021, "lf the Federal Government fails to advise the Authority within the time specified in sub-section (3), the category wise presided prices so determined by the Authority under sub-sections (1) and (2), as the case may be, shall be notified by the Authority as the category wise sale prices."
The bill further described as, "Each licensee for natural gas shall pay to the Federal Government the development surcharge in respect of each unit of natural gas sold in a manner as prescribed by the Federal Government under the Natural Gas (Development Surcharge) Ordinance, 1967 (l of 1967) and the rules made thereunder. Any amount paid by a licensee under this sub-section shall be an expenditure for which allowance shall be made in computing profits or gains under the Income Tax Ordinance 2OO1.for the purpose of this sub-section."
The Committee also asked the OGRA to assert its regulatory authority and address the issue of overbilling by gas distribution companies. The Committee observed that the genuine customers should not suffer on the pretext of faulty gas meters and gas pilferage.
The Committee decided to call chiefs of the OGRA, the SNGPL, and the SSGCL in its ensuing meeting to discuss the issue. The Committee also discussed another bill, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021 moved by Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das.
MNA Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das had introduced this bill on private members' day of the National Assembly on April 1, 2021. After discussion, disapproved, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021, moved by Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das.
The Committee was apprised about another the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which aims to bring entire Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Re-gasified Liquefied Gas (RLNG) licensing and pricing under regulatory framework of the OGRA.
It was further apprised that amendment in question would further empower the OGRA to determine and notify the RLNG sale price under the OGRA Ordinance, 2002. The Committee observed that the bill needs further deliberation; therefore, it would take up the same in its next meeting.
The chairman OGRA contented that the OGRA deals with marketing and regulation of midstream and downstream gas and oil sectors, thus, the amendment proposed by the MNA would change the structure of the authority. He further informed that all the issues related to exploration of oil and gas are discussed in the Council of Common Interest, which has appropriate representation of the provinces.
The meeting was attended by MNAs; Saleem Rehman, Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Uzma Riaz, Muhammad Hashim, Rasheed Ahmad Khan, Shahnaz Saleem Malik, Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli, Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, Syed Mehmood Shah, Mover Kesoo Mal Kheal Das, additional secretary Cabinet Division, chairman OGRA, and other officers of the concerned departments.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021