ISLAMABAD: The Petroleum Division is to submit a report on storage of strategic reserves of oil to Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) in its next meeting, official sources told Business Recorder. On July 1, 2021, the CCoE had directed Petroleum Division to conclude the study on storage for strategic reserves and present it to the CCoE within the month of July but the decision could not be implemented.

The sources said that Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) will share reports on status of changes in the rules to redefine punitive measures and fines and establish a monitoring system for sale of petroleum products. The CCoE had directed OGRA to establish a comprehensive monitoring system of sale of petroleum products down to the retail level to ensure accountability.

The Committee, headed by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, also directed that all retail stations must be registered with unique ID number. All unregistered outlets must be closed or punitive action may be taken against them. According to Secretary Ministry of Maritime Affairs (MoMA) there is sufficient unused storing facility at the port for strategic reserves.

Chairman CCoE had asked the OMCs to develop their storage conforming to the legal requirements. He also directed OGRA to ensure monitoring of the OMCs at a retail level. According to sources, OMCs have provided information of their retail stations and now each station is being assigned unique identity number and will be monitored on monthly basis.

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He also made it clear that any retail station not included in the data base of OGRA should be considered illegal. The sources said an inquiry initiated against two of the leading OMCs by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) in June 2020 on the possible cartelization has been put under the carpet, despite the fact that Inquiry Commission on Petroleum Shortage has already submitted its very comprehensive report to the government.

The CCoE had also directed Law & Justice Division to expedite vetting of the draft SROs relating to proposed amendments/changes in the OGRA Ordinance 2002. The sources said, Law and Justices Division will also share the status of vetting of draft SROs relating to proposed amendments/ changes in the OGRA Ordinance 2002.

Petroleum Division had also been directed to identify critical cases, where stays have been sought by the OMCs. The Division may request the Attorney General of Pakistan for legal help/support to vacate the stays. The sources said, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will submit report on the status of Inquiry/ Investigation on petroleum crisis.

Last month, the FIA had sought time from the CCoE to submit report on the oil crisis of June 2020. The Agency also sought assistance of the Attorney General Office to vacate multiple intra-court appeals of OMCs. Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Interior will submit summary on security package of small dams as the attack on Chinese nationals working on Dasu project has raised questions about the security of workers.

Power Division is to submit a summary on Standard Security Agreements for Small Hydropower Projects under Power Generation Policy 2015. This summary was presented to the ECC in its last meeting but the ECC observed that since the matter is related to CCoE, it should be tabled before the relevant forum. Review of Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the CCoE and implementation status of CCoE decisions will also be considered by the forum. The Committee, the sources said, is also expected to consider another item of Petroleum Division, which is not on the agenda.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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