ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan Friday said the government would renegotiate LNG deal with Qatar.

Addressing a press conference, Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan also announced to reconstitute all the Board of Directors of oil and gas companies in next 100 days to ensure transparency in appointing heads of the companies. Boards of Directors of oil and gas companies were appointed on political basis,” the Minister claimed.

The boards of six companies have already been reconstituted while the reconstitution of remaining boards would be formed in the coming 100 days, he added. Sarwar said that Board of Directors would also elect its own professional chairman and chief executive officers would be appointed after clearance.

The minister said that the government wanted to re-negotiate LNG deal with Qatar. He said that previous government had been mandated for five years but it signed 15 years deal. He said that FIA and NAB were investigating the deal and responsibility would be fixed on those involved in this deal.

He said that under austerity measures, the petroleum division and oil and gas companies had auctioned 85 cars. The minister said that austerity and other cost cutting measures had resulted in revenue amounting to Rs66.8 million.

About increase in gas prices, he said that higher increase in gas prices was made for elite consumers like those sitting in Jati Umra and added that 10 to 20 per cent increase was made for consumers under three slabs.

He further said that during last five years, the losses of SNGPL and SSGC had increased and now they had been given a target to reduce these losses.

The losses of SNGPL and SSGCL stood at 11 and 13 per cent respectively and the losses of these companies had reached Rs152 billion due to keeping prices unchanged for last five years, he added. The minister further said that industrial sectors Punjab including Faisalabad and Lahore were involved in gas theft.

He added that the government had decided to provide subsidised gas to five industrial sectors. He said that government would give Rs25 billion subsidy during three months.   

The minister said that government had also reduced GST by 7 per cent on LPG which resulted in reducing prices of LPG domestic cylinder to Rs 1359 from Rs1800.

He said that previous government did not auction a single block during the last five years. He said that the PTI government had selected 40 blocks and out of them 10 blocks had been auctioned to explore indigenous oil and gas. He further said that federal government had written letters to provinces to give names to represent them on board of directors of oil and gas companies. The government had also decided to revise petroleum policy, he added.

He said that ExxonMobil would start offshore drilling 230km away from Karachi in January 2019. OGDCL, PPL, ENI and ExxonMobil had 25 per cent shares each in this offshore block.   

The minister said that work on two refineries in Balochistan was on advance stage. Parco was setting up refinery and another refinery by UAE would be set up in Balochistan for which 2,000 acres of land had been allocated. He said that crown price of UAE would visit Pakistan and an agreement would be signed soon.

He said that government was also working on three gas pipelines which included TAPI, IP and offshore gas pipeline. The work on TAPI pipeline was on advance stage. He said that Iran was facing US sanctions and Pakistan and Iran were discussing it.