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.