SC orders OGRA to retain CNG prices until Nov 19
02 November, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to maintain until November 19 the prices of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) that were fixed by it before Eidul Azha.
Appreciating the reduction in CNG price before Eid, the court said the credit for it went to OGRA and not the apex court, contrary to the impression that the latter had fixed the CNG new prices. It has sought a comprehensive report from the petroleum secretary and OGRA chairman regarding the gas consumption in the domestic sector, industries, IPPs, CNG stations and fertiliser sector.
The court also sought complete record of gas production, use and shortfall in the next hearing, and remarked that gas production in the country stood at 4000 MMCFD while use was 2560 MMCFD.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited Managing Director Arif Hamid and Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Limited Managing Director Azeem Iqbal Siddiqui were ordered to get the forensic audit of per MMBTU cost of gas within 15 days and also assist the court on the question of price being paid by the consumers. The court also asked them to submit a report about the steps taken to control Unaccounted for Gas or Loss Units (UFG) and measures they have adopted to reduce the losses.
A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that the CNG associations have become cartels. "It seems as if not only the government created and recognised the cartels but also favoured them," it remarked. Justice Jawwad Khawaja noted OGRA was not subservient but an independent body and a watchdog.
The court accepted CNG stations owners and Sindh CNG Association's plea for becoming party in the case. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada on behalf of CNG stations' owners and Wasim Sajjad representing Sindh CNG Association filed their replies. Wasim Sajjad prayed that the government should be directed not to adopt coercive measures against the CNG stations. The chief justice said, "We want that the government function independently and establish its writ." However, the government cannot impose taxes for which no approval has been given because doing so is exploitation to some extent, he added. The court has adjourned the hearing of the case until November 19.