Provinces agree to carry forward gas sector reforms process

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 28 (APP): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on
Thursday said availability, affordability, efficiency and sustainability were the
hallmark of gas sector reforms process.
Chairing 5th meeting of the Gas Sector Leadership Committee here, the
Prime Minister highlighted the energy needs of the country and the strategy being
pursued to carry out reforms and meet consumer’s demands for energy.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah,
Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Khan Zehri, Minister of State for Energy Jam
Kamal Khan, Minister of Energy Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Atif Khan, Minister of Finance
Punjab Dr. Aysha Ghaus Pasha, Chairman OGRA Ms. Uzma
Adil Khan and other senior officials.
World Bank Pakistan Mission Leader Ms. Defne Gencer along with senior
officials of the World Bank were also present.
The Prime Minister observed that around 100 gas discoveries made
during this year were not enough to meet the existing demand and therefore
necessitated the import of gas besides enhancement of local production.
Discussing the reform process, the Prime Minister highlighted that the
new policy, regulations and technical framework would be perfectly compliant with
the constitutional provisions.
The Prime Minister assured the meeting that all constitutional issues
pertaining to gas sector were being addressed at the level of CCI.
He said while the constitutional matters were being dealt at an
appropriate level, the process of operational and tactical reforms should
simultaneously be continued.
Mr. Khalid Rahman, Gas Sector Reform Team Leader / MD SSGC briefed the
meeting on downstream and upstream gas sector reforms including Third Party
Access (TPA), un-bundling of transmission and distribution business, licensing and
tariff methodology.
The meeting was apprised that draft TPA rules had been submitted to
OGRA and public comments were being invited. Network codes were in the final
stages and SNGPL Board had approved processing of the appointment of
Transaction Advisor.
It was further briefed that licensing proposals were being considered
by OGRA. Policy reforms regarding gas sector had already been referred by the
CCI to IPCC for discussion and comments from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
had been received.
World Bank Consultant briefed the meeting on recommendations regarding
allocation of policy and regulatory rules, establishment of Directorate General of
Exploration & Production in the Ministry of Energy and establishment of Pakistan
Petroleum Exploration and Production Regulatory
Authority.
The meeting was also briefed on existing administrative capacity of
the public gas sector organizations and proposals for enhancement of its
efficiency.
The Prime Minister thanked provincial governments and the World Bank
for active and productive engagement in the reforms process.
The Prime Minister stated that these reforms were inevitable for a
sustainable gas supply system. The Prime Minister emphasized that the main
objective of the reform process was to facilitate the end consumer without
compromising on rights and privileges of the provinces and
other stakeholders.
Chief Minister Balochistan lauded the role of the Prime Minister in
leading these reforms and stated that Balochistan had supported the proposed
reforms. He stated that the proposed reforms must lead to affordable and easy
access of gas to the people of Balochistan.
Chief Minister Sindh while supporting the reforms process emphasized
on equal representation of provinces in the proposed regulatory bodies.
He also underscored the importance of fulfilling constitutional
requirements for these reforms and proper sequencing of procedural and
constitutional reforms.
Minister of Energy, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also seconded the view point of
the Sindh Province.
Minister for Finance, Punjab informed that the government of Punjab
had already constituted a committee to discuss the gas sector reforms and
emphasized on financial sustainability.
The meeting supported, in principle, to carry forward the reforms
process and pledged to contribute towards providing a sustainable and efficient gas
exploration, production, transmission and distribution system.
The Prime Minister assured the provinces of his personal commitment to
work with each Chief Minister to deliver the reform program.