ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued notices to the oil companies and refineries in a petition filed by the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) for implementation of the Pakistan Oil Rules (POR) 2016.

Ogra requested the court to cancel its May 24 order of status quo enabling the federal government to implement the newly formed and approved Pakistan Oil Rules (POR) 2016.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb issued the notices to oil marketing and oil transportation companies as well as oil refineries in this matter.

Earlier, 13 oil marketing companies, one transportation company and 5 oil refineries had challenged the POR 2016 mainly due to the reason that these were not framed in consultation with the stakeholders.

On May 24, an IHC bench had directed the respondents to maintain status quo in this matter. The said companies related with oil business had challenged POR after Ogra issued them notices asking them to get new licences within 90 days against a renewal fee of Rs2million and payment of 0.005 percent on gross annual sale (Rs-50,000 on 1 billion).

Ogra in its notices had warned the companies to immediately apply for new licences under rule-6 of POR otherwise there will be action taken against them. The companies challenged the POR before the court through their managements and contended before the court that under section 6 (2) (b) of Ogra ordinances, the authority will frame rules & regulation in consultation with licensee. In this particular matter no consultation whatsoever was made with the companies before issuing them notices.

They argued that under the new rules, the companies related with the oil business required to pay Rs2 million non-refundable fee for grant, renewal, modification, extension, assignment, review, transfer, amendment, relocation or re-issuance of a licence and 0.005pc of gross sales. The oil companies prayed to the court to declare the notifications illegal.

After hearing the case, the IHC bench issued notices to the parties directing them to submit replies and adjourned the matter till August 3 for further proceedings.