Petroleum watchdog likely by May next year

New Delhi, Nov 17 | Updated: Nov 18 2005, 05:30am hrs
The petroleum and natural gas regulatory board Bill has been approved by the group of ministers (GoM). The petroleum ministry now plans to put up this Bill for the approval of the Cabinet by next week. It would be tabled in Parliament in the winter session with the aim of having a regulatory structure in place by May next year.

Speaking at the economic editors conference here on Thursday, petroleum secretary SC Tripathi said the regulator will be in place by April next year. The new regulator would handle the downstream sector and monitor oil refining and marketing companies. The directorate general of hydrocarbons (DGH), which is in operation, may be made a statutory body and would look after upstream segment, he said. Mr Tripathi said the Bill was delayed as it had to be revised on account of various factors such as the changing trend in the energy sector. The earlier 2002 Bill focused on the oil sector, he said.

On disclosure norms for oil and gas finds by exploration companies, he said the guidelines for companies which have signed production-sharing contracts with government are already in place as per requirements of market regulator Sebi.

Disclosure norms for non-PSC finds are also proposed to be similar to that of PSC discoveries, he said, adding the DGH would be working on it. On the LPG shortage, Mr Tripathi said that the shortage would be overcome in the next 15 days. The shortage, he said is owing to increased imports and commencement of production from Reliances Jamnagar refinery. There are certain local problems which would be solved in the next 15 days and would facilitate ending the crisis, he said.