The Ministry of Petroleum has agreed with the proposed increase in compressed natural gas (CNG) prices by Rs7 to Rs8 per kg, worked out by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), which will take CNG prices to 55 per cent of petrol price.
After the agreement on the amount of increase in gas prices, the All Pakistan CNG Association has deferred plans for countrywide protests. This proposed increase in prices will now be sent to the cabinet for final approval.
However, no consensus could be reached on reducing gas outages for CNG stations as the petroleum minister categorically said that outages would be curtailed only if gas was available.
Ogra has worked out an increase of Rs8.05 per kg in CNG price from the existing Rs59.57 to Rs67.62 per kg in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Potohar region (Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Gujar Khan). In Sindh and Punjab (excluding Potohar region), CNG price will be increased by Rs7.38 from Rs56.80 to Rs64.18 per kg.
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain has invited the CNG industry to also invest in setting up liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) outlets. Talking to the CNG association’s office-bearers and select media, Hussain said the government would facilitate them in establishing LPG filling stations.
“We will also amend rules that bar the CNG industry from setting up LPG auto stations,” he said, adding Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) would participate in the bidding of Progas LPG company scheduled for July 27.
Hussain also announced that no private marketing companies would be given LPG from new gas fields. “An LPG marketing subsidiary of SSGC will extract gas from these fields and market it,” he added.
He also said upper cap on LPG prices would continue. “Come and set up LPG stations and I will assure you availability of LPG and amendment in rules to provide a level-playing field for all investors.”
LNG secretariat being set up
The Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) was already dealing with the affairs of the CNG industry and the minister decided to further empower the institute so that it could deal with liquefied natural gas (LNG) issues also. He said an LNG secretariat would be set up in HDIP.
The explosives department of the Ministry of Industries was dealing with safety matters relating to CNG and LPG, Hussain said, adding an explosives wing would be set up in HDIP and the petroleum ministry would handle all issues pertaining to explosives. An approval in this regard may be sought from the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet.
He said Petroleum Policy 2011 would be announced within a month, after which the ministry would grant licences for 17 blocks to oil and gas exploration companies.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2011.
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