Kaul wants gas regulator in place by September

Vol 5, PW 14 (29 Aug 01) People & Policy

Vijayendra Kaul is acutely aware of the challenges ahead as the government moves to overhaul the oil and gas sector.

"The most challenging issue before me is dismantling of the administered pricing mechanism and restructuring of the sector," he tells PETROWATCH. "Both are on schedule.

We are following the roadmap laid down by Hydrocarbon Vision 2025." What he means is that 'Administered Pricing' (where his ministry fixes the price of LPG, petrol, diesel and kerosene) will be history on 31st March next year. Kaul stresses that a regulator will be in place by then.

"The key issue on regulation is whether we want to have minimal or comprehensive regulation," he adds. "The government must decide.

We have a clear understanding of what the regulator must cover, but discussions are on whether there should be one or two or three regulators." More important, according to Kaul, is whether the regulator should start off as a statutory or anon-statutory body. "We want suggestions on this from everybody.

I guess a decision on this would depend on how quickly we want to have the regulator and the time we have on hand." Here again, Kaul adds, the decision would have to be a political one, by the government of the day. "We could have a quick, non-statutory regulator helped by existing laws to start with, and then follow-up in a more considered manner with a statutory regulator."