Rajya Sabha passes Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Bill, 2005
The Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board Bill, 2005 was passed by the Rajya Sabha today. Earlier, seeking the leave of the House to take the Bill into consideration, Shri Murli Deora, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas said that the government envisages to set up a statutory downstream petroleum & natural gas regulator with the objective of the regulating, processing, storage, refining, transportation, distribution and marketing of petroleum products and natural gas. This he said is with the objective of protecting the interest of consumers and entities engaged in specified activities relating to petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas. The Bill also aims to ensure uninterrupted and adequate supply of these products in all parts of the country and to promote competitive markets.
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Shri Deora also said that efforts are being made by his ministry to enhance oil and gas security of the country as emphasised in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP). Various initiatives are being taken in this regard including efforts to enhance domestic oil and gas production, acquiring acreages abroad, importing gas through pipelines and in the form of LNG, diversifying crude oil supply sources and taking steps to build strategic crude oil sources.
The Minister also said that Bill had earlier will introduced in the 13th Lok Sabha as the Petroleum Regulatory Board Bill, 2002 which was referred to the Standing Committee. The official amendments as proposed by the Standing Committee were introduced in December 2003 but the Bill could not be considered and it lapsed. The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 21st December, 2005. The government accepted 47 out of 49 recommendations of the Standing Committee, making appropriate modifications in the Bill in respect of 26 recommendations and 21 would be incorporated through rules/regulations. Regarding 2 recommendations relating to declaring storage facilities, hydrant systems at airports etc. as common carriers, the Bill seeks to empower the Board to register entities who propose to establish storage facilities beyond a certain capacity.
The regulation of the natural gas by the Board was incorporated in the Bill by incorporating provisions relating to affiliate code of conduct, pipeline access code, introduction of the concept of contract carrier, city or local gas distribution networks, methodology for fixation of transportation tariff, etc.
Shri Deora informed the House that there are refinements relating to having a member (legal/judicial) on the Board, introducing concept of restrictive trade practices instead of profiteering, common Appellate Tribunal for the electricity and petroleum sectors, deleting the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the MRTP Commission/Competition Commission, and empowering the Board to register, instead of authorise, the entities seeking to market petroleum products and setting up Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals and registration of entities seeking to establish storage facilities beyond a certain capacity. Shri Deora also said that in respect of laying common or contract carrier pipeline and for laying city or local gas distribution networks, the Bill has the provision of authorisation by the Board.
(Release ID :16156)