ISLAMABAD: After the centre’s proposal of an upstream regulator that would decide on policy matters pertaining to oil and gas producing companies, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have backed the move, but added that representation of the provinces also needs to be included.
In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Sindh chief minister and K-P’s minister for energy said the provinces agree on the concept of an upstream regulator and unbundling of existing gas utilities to bring efficiency and improvement in their functions.
However, they said that representation at the regulatory level, shareholding and management control in new gas utilities should also be given.
The technical committee formed on the matter had recommended that members and chairman of the proposed upstream regulator should be made on merit. However, the officials said that representation of the provinces should be in the formation of policies regarding THE upstream industry.
During the meeting, the technical committee in its recommendation said that Director General Petroleum Concession (DGPC) was under control of THE petroleum division and therefore independent regulator was required to implement the policy to enhance local oil and gas production.
It further said that an upstream regulator should be formed on the model of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).But appointment of members and chairman should be based on merit to implement the policies.
In response to the proposal made by the provinces, the prime minister said that he would personally meet the chief ministers of all provinces to take them on board. He said that concerns of provinces would be addressed.
Balochistan said that it had contributed a major role in the energy supply and they would support all such initiatives which would result in benefiting the country.
Punjab province said that it was a time of reforms. Otherwise, the energy minister said, the gas sector would collapse like the power sector did in Pakistan.
Unbundling of Gas companies
On the issue of unbundling of gas utilities, Balochistan extended unconditional support. However, the K-P energy minister expressed reservations and said that the province should be given shareholding in the new companies.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2017.