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Sunday, 27 September 2020

Natural Gas Regulatory Authority to resume talks natgas import licenses after two-year hiatus

Private sector companies could see natural gas import plans dusted off as talks on licensing resumes: The Natural Gas Regulatory Authority (NGRA) will reportedly resume meetings “soon” to finalize its plans to roll out natural gas import licenses to private sector companies, after these plans were shelved in 2018, Al Mal reports, citing an unnamed government official. The authority is planning to complete and begin implementing the plan before the end of the year, the source says. The NGRA had decided to delay issuing the licenses, saying the private sector was “unprepared” after three companies that received initial approval failed to submit the paperwork in time.

Background: The regulatory body was born out of the 2017 Natural Gas Act that marked the start of natural gas market deregulation. The authority was set up to facilitate the opening up of the market to competition and oversee licensing to private companies for a number of commercial activities, including grid operations and maintenance, supply, distribution, and shipping. The authority maintains full control over issuing and rejecting licensing for activities within a 45-day timeframe. EGAS had granted preliminary approvals to grant import licenses to Qalaa Holdings’ TAQA Arabia, BB Energy and Fleet Energy, which were designed to be renewed every six months until the final licenses were issued. Reports at the time had suggested that the first license would be granted before the end of 2018.

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