Deadline for CGD guidelines pushed back once again

Vol 11, PW 16 (13 Dec 07) People & Policy

Companies who believe the oil ministry has created a toothless tiger in the downstream and gas regulator should think again.

Speaking to PETROWATCH, Labanyendu Mansingh rubbishes industry whispers that the oil ministry has rendered the Board powerless by withholding Section 16 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, which deals specifically with authorisation of existing CGD networks. “Even without Section 16, the Board has all the required powers,â€‌ Mansingh tells us.

“Anyway it is a badly drafted Act. Section 17 basically repeats whatever Section 16 says so we have all the powers to call for information.

â€‌ Separately, efforts to publish regulations that will govern the nascent gas distribution sector in India are continually being pushed back. As expected the Board will miss its ambitious self-imposed deadline of January 1 for their publication.

“We have pushed back our deadline by two weeks to January 15 or latest by January 20,â€‌ confirms Mansingh. “Many companies have asked for more time to send in suggestions.

â€‌ Mansingh says the new regulations will cover both City Gas Distribution and gas transmission pipelines. “There is a pipeline policy in place but unless pipeline regulations are also drafted it is meaningless to have just CGD regulations,â€‌ he adds.

Mansingh is clear that he wants members of the public and those in the oil and gas sector to comment on the draft regulations that were published last month, and for which the board had fixed December 6 last week as the deadline for feedback. The new deadline is December 21.

“Anybody can send in comments and suggestions,â€‌ he says. “We have written to lots of entities already and the response has been overwhelming.

â€‌ Mansingh said the Board would be participating in an industry debate on the new CGD regulations organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Delhi on (Friday) December 14. “A lot of companies want to enter the CGD business,â€‌ adds Mansingh.

“This is why it is important to have the regulations in place fast.â€‌