No downstream petroleum regulator until after elections

Vol 7, PW 23 (11 Feb 04) News in Brief

Dont expect progress on the appointment of a downstream petroleum regulator until a new government takes charge after elections in April.

Inaugurating a Mumbai gas conference organised by GAIL on 2nd February, oil minister Ram Naik apologised about the delay. We had finished our work, said Naik.

But we couldnt help it if the opposition blocked work during the winter session. When we come back to power we will surely get the Bill passed immediately.

Indias downstream oil sector was deregulated on 1st April 2002 but Naik continues to assume the role of regulator because the Petroleum Regulatory Board Bill has is not yet law even though it was introduced in parliament in May 2002. Parliaments standing committee on petroleum and chemicals examined the law for a year before sending it to the oil ministry with a list of suggestions.

It should have been enacted during the winter session.

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