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Friday June 21, 2024

Govt seeks ministry input on refinery upgrade deadline extension

By Tanveer Malik
May 01, 2024
A representational image shows Total Energies employees walking in the Donges oil refinery in Donges, on September 8, 2023. — AFP
A representational image shows Total Energies employees walking in the Donges oil refinery in Donges, on September 8, 2023. — AFP

KARACHI: The government has sought the views of several ministries on extending the deadline for refinery upgrade agreements under the Brownfield Refinery Policy, a Cabinet Division letter showed.

The Petroleum Division has been asked to seek comments from the Finance Ministry, Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, and Law Ministry before extending the deadline, which has been delayed due to one refinery seeking more time for upgradation agreements.

Pak Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) has sought time to sign an upgradation agreement with the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), which has caused a delay in the signing of agreements of other refineries too.

According to people in the refining sector, the government wanted to delay the signing of upgradation agreements for six months, and the Petroleum Division had asked the Cabinet Division for notifying the delay of these agreements for six months.

However, the Cabinet Division has asked for comments and views of other ministries before notifying the delay for six months.They said the delay has not been notified so far, however, the upgradation agreements have been delayed and it appears that these would not be signed as the present government doesn't seem to be interested in the policies, which were introduced in the caretaker set up.

They said that the Brownfield Refinery Policy is one of those policies, which appears to be a victim.The policy, originally notified on August 17, 2023, was amended after taking into consideration the concerns of the refineries on some of the clauses that would have made the proposed upgradation projects unviable. The amendments were made after intense and prolonged consultation between the government, refineries, and independent financial and legal advisory firms.