Ogra refuses to attend meetings on sub judice matters.

ISLAMABAD -- Taking a principled stance, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has declined to attend meetings of the Ministry of Energy on sub judice regulatory matters.

A senior official at the Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Energy told Dawn that the regulator had taken a written position that it was not available for meetings on statutory regulatory matters. 'Ogra [the regulator] is constrained to recuse itself from attending any such meetings,' the official quoted an Ogra communication as saying.

Informed sources in Ogra said the regulator had been receiving repeated letters almost on a daily basis from the petroleum and power divisions of the energy ministry on the issue of its determination of the gas companies' revenue requirements for 2021 that had not gone well with the gas companies and the Petroleum Division.

In its letter to the Director-General Gas of the PetroAleum Division, the regulator explained that it was enAAtrusted with statutory functions under Ogra Ordinance and was mandated to act in a transparent, non-discriminate and equitable manner. The regulator has to adjudicate upon the matters that are brought before it by the relevant licensees, gas companies in this case.

Says it is mandated to act in a transparent, non-discriminate and equitable manner

'In case any licensee is aggrieved by any of Ogra's decision, it may appeal and then file a review' before the regulator in accordance with the requirements of the Ogra ordinance and the courts of competent jurisdictions if at all. It said that since sufficient remedy was available to address licensee's concerns, 'questioning Ogra's decision in executive meetings is not desirable'.

Independent regulators

A petroleum ministry official said Ogra and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) were independent under their relevant laws but there was no harm in attending meetings with the petroleum and power divisions. He agreed that the government could pass on policy guidelines to the regulators with prior approval of the federal cabinet.

It may be recalled that in November last year, the regulator reduced the cost of system losses charged to consumers from about 13-17pc to about 6.3pc on account of pricing of regasified-liquefied natural gas through a majority decision.

In doing so, Ogra also notified the RLNG price for four months - August to November 2020 - that had been withheld due to lack of Ogra quorum and disagreement among two remaining members...

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