KARACHI

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Chair­man Oil and Gas Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity (OGRA) Muham­mad Saeed Ahmed Khan said that 80 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try is de­pen­dent on the ex­pen­sive fuel. Only 20 per­cent pop­u­la­tion is tak­ing ben­e­fit from the nat­u­ral gas while re­main­ing pop­u­la­tion is us­ing ex­pen­sive fuel like kerosene oil, liq­ue­fied petroleum gas or woods.

OGRA Chair­man Muham­mad Saeed Ahmed Khan stated this in an exclusive in­ter­view with Daily The Pak Banker in Karachi. OGRA chair­man and other of­fi­cials stayed in Karachi for three days and con­ducted hear­ings to get view­points of the stake­hold­ers about the es­tab­lish­ment of Liqui­fied Nat­u­ral Gas Ter­mi­nal at Port Qasim. At present the cheap­est fuel in Pak­istan is the nat­u­ral gas, but it is avail­able only to 20 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try, he said, adding the govern­ment must pro­mote LPG by giv­ing sub­sidy on its price so that more con­sumers can take ben­e­fit from this fuel. He said that for this pur­pose we can study the In­dian model. Chair­man OGRA said that the im­port of LPG and LNG would help over­com­ing the gas short­age. He said that the in­ter­na­tional gas pipe­line projects would also be help­ful in mit­i­gat­ing the gas cri­sis in the coun­try in the years ahead.

Saeed Khan said the govern­ment should in­crease the nat­u­ral gas prices with the aim to min­i­mize dis­par­ity in prices be­tween nat­u­ral gas and other fu­els.

To a ques­tion he said that the govern­ment would pass on to con­sumers the ben­e­fit of a sub­stan­tial de­cline in the value of dol­lar against ru­pee by re­duc­ing prices of oil and im­ported gas.

He, how­ever, said that the role of the OGRA is to give ad­vice to govern­ment re­gard­ing cut in prices and the de­ci­sion mak­ing is with the govern­ment.

He said the oil and gas sec­tors have enor­mous po­ten­tial of growth and in­vest­ment in the coun­try. He, how­ever, said that the se­cu­rity prob­lem was a ma­jor hur­dle in the ex­plo­ration and ex­pan­sion of oil and gas sec­tors in the coun­try. Mean­while, af­ter con­duct­ing hear­ing of the LNG Ter­mi­nal case hear­ing for two con­sec­u­tive days in Karachi, a del­e­ga­tion of the Oil and Gas Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity also vis­ited the pro­posed site of the LNG ter­mi­nal con­struc­tion by Elengy Ter­mi­nal Pri­vate Limited (ETPL) at the Port Qaism and also trav­elled through the ves­sel chan­nel by boat to ob­serve the phys­i­cal as­pects of the project. The del­e­ga­tion led by Vice Chair­man Sabir Hus­sain also in­cluded Mem­ber Gas Amir Naseem, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor (LPG/LNG) Shahid Nau­man Afzal and all other rel­e­vant se­nior of­fi­cials. The visit was in line with the hear­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion of the ETPL for con­struc­tion of the ter­mi­nal that the OGRA did here on Tues­day that was presided over by Chair­man Saeed Ahmed Khan.

Dur­ing the course of hear­ing the in­ter­ven­ers had raised ap­pre­hen­sions about pos­si­ble chan­nel con­ges­tion, sil­ta­tion, safety, and other is­sues re­lat­ing to site and chan­nel. There­fore, the Author­ity con­sid­ered it im­per­a­tive to take an all en­com­pass­ing del­e­ga­tion to the site through the chan­nel in or­der to ob­serve phys­i­cal and tech­ni­cal as­pects of the project be­fore tak­ing any de­ci­sion on the ap­pli­ca­tion of ETPL seek­ing li­censes for the con­struc­tion of LNG ter­mi­nal, a pipe­line from the ter­mi­nal to the Sui South­ern Gas Com­pany (SSGC) the buyer of the gas, and other reg­u­lated ac­tiv­i­ties.

The Author­ity would now ex­am­ine the ap­pli­ca­tion viz a viz the le­gal re­quire­ments, ap­provals, and NOCs in ad­di­tion to the ob­jec­tions raised by the in­ter­ven­ers dur­ing the course of hear­ing in Karachi on the ETPL's ap­pli­ca­tion for the grant of li­cense to con­struct the LNG ter­mi­nal at Port Qasim.Ini­tially it was noted that the fi­nal ap­proval of the PQA, NOC from the Min­istry of De­fense and cer­tain stud­ies were still pend­ing.

Dur­ing their three days visit to Karachi, the OGRA of­fi­cials also heard ap­peals against var­i­ous de­ci­sions by the des­ig­nated of­fi­cers on the re­spec­tive in­di­vid­ual is­sues of CNG, LPG, and other reg­u­lated ac­tiv­i­ties.

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