Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has decided to answer all charges levelled against it in the Inquiry Commission report which was formed to find out the reasons behind the petroleum crisis in June this year. In the report dissolution of OGRA was recommended.
Senior official OGRA told that acting Chairman of Authority Noor-ul-Haq presided a meeting of senior officials. He said that the chairman and senior officials rejected the charges levelled against OGRA as baseless and contrary to ground realities. He said OGRA is doing its level best within the resources and powers available to it according to the constitution. “Dealing with the Ministry of Petroleum and Oil Marketing Companies is not an easy thing to do,” he observed. He said that OGRA needs more funds and constitutional powers to play a significant role as regulator, he added. “Oil and gas business in Pakistan is not in billions in fact it is in trillions, it is very difficult to regulate it without a proper and competent workforce,” he added.
Regarding the fine of just Rs 50 million on OMCs who made billions out of the petrol crisis in June, he said the maximum level of plenty allowed to authority under the constitution was imposed on OMCs.
The report in its report stated: “OGRA since its establishment in 2002 and initiation in oil industry 2006, is rife with irregularities and illegalities. Starting with inordinate delay in drafting and promulgation of rules, issues plethora of licenses without checking the antecedents of the owners/directors, unduly extending provincial licenses issuing illegal provisional marketing permissions. Ignoring its essential duty of developing strategic storage and inability to control mushroom growth of illegal retail outlets, no plausible explanation has been rendered by OGRA.
Since the promulgation of Pakistan Oil Rules 2016, it was clear cut mandate of OGRA to check the stock and ensure adequate availability of 20 days stock by each OMC. Not only this responsibility constantly ignored but OGRA assumed and insisted that this function did not fall under their ambit. Same goes for the requisite stock of crude oil by the refineries. From the perspective of performance, the appointment of chairpersons and members (Oil, Gas and Finance) over the years become seriously questionable”.
In the report, it was further stated: “A regulatory body like OGRA, perhaps in line with modern markets of developed countries was not aligned with ground realities of Pakistan. As such, the Inquiry Commission strongly recommends dissolution of OGRA through an act of parliament within six months.”