Rishi Ranjan Kala
The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has constituted an independent committee, which will not just review the performance of the empanelled agencies conducting e-bidding of natural gas, but will also act as a grievance redressal body.
The five-member Independent Oversight committee will monitor and review the performance of empanelled agencies periodically and will also examine complaints or grievances received from sellers or buyers of natural gas and submit their recommendations.
At present, there are five agencies empanelled by the DGH for conducting the bidding process for buying or selling of natural gas in the country. The agencies are SBI Capital Markets, Mjunction Services, RITES, MSTC and Crisil.
The exercise is part of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas’s (MoPNG) marketing reforms through which it aims to enhance domestic gas production and move towards a gas-based economy. It also seeks to bring uniformity in the process of discovery of market prices and promote ease of doing business.
Grievance redressal mechanism
DGH said that any complaint related to the bidding process conducted by the empanelled agencies, which is raised by a seller or buyer, will be referred to the panel.
The seller or buyer of natural gas participating in a particular e-bidding process can raise the complaint within seven days from close of the bidding process and complaints received after the deadline shall not be entertained. The Independent Oversight committee, if required, can solicit any necessary information from any party involved in the bidding process. The party needs to submit the same, within the timelines to be specified by the panel, it added.
After deliberations and discussions, the Independent Oversight committee shall forward its recommendations to competent authority on the matter.
The committee shall endeavour to formulate its recommendations within 60 days of receipt of the grievance and the competent authority shall endeavour to communicate its decision within 30 days of receipt of recommendations to the committee, the DGH said.
During the April-October period in FY23, India’s natural gas production rose marginally by 1 per cent y-o-y to 19,600 million standard cubic meters (MSCM), while imports declined by 11 per cent y-o-y to 16,876 MSCM.
Gas available for sale during October 2022 was 4,789 MSCM, down by around 2 per cent y-o-y. Total consumption on a provisional basis stood at 4,702 MSCM. The major consumers were fertiliser (37 per cent), CGD (20 per cent), power (13 per cent), refinery (5 per cent) and petrochemicals (2 per cent).