LAHORE - Federal Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Monday said the government is committed to run the export-oriented industry at all costs by ensuring uninterrupted gas supply to it.

Briefing the media persons at the SNGPL Head Office here, he said that  the zero-industrial units would be given a total of Rs 25 billion subsidy on gas for three months of winter season with effect from October 16, 2018. In an effort to boost the overall exports of the country, the government is also contemplating to continue with uninterrupted gas supply facility to export industry till June 2019.

The petroleum minister said that UFG (Unaccounted for gas) was 11 percent in Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) covering Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while 13 percent UFG in Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited (SSGPL) covering Sindh and Balochistan.

He explained that one percent UFG means Rs 2 billion loss and in this way both the gas companies have an accumulative loss of Rs 48 billion. The incumbent government has decided to mitigate the UFG ratio by one percent i.e. overcome Rs 2 billion loss per annum, and SNGPL and SSGPL have been tasked in this regard, he added.

Ghulam Sarwar said that the government is reconstituting the Board of Directors (BoDs) of all 14 companies registered with the Ministry of Petroleum out of which five are listed (with stock exchange) and nine are non-listed. Since these boards were politically manipulated, he said the government has decided their reconstitution by giving proper representation to oil and gas producing provinces and private sector as well as incorporating relevant experts, professional and qualified people into each BoD consisting of 11 members.

In the first 100 days of the government, he said that reconstitutionwork has been finalised on BoDs of six companies - SNGPL, PSO (Pakistan State Oil), PARCO (Pak-Arab Refinery Limited Company), PPL (Pakistan Petroleum Limited), OGDCL (Oil and Gas Development Company Limited) and GHPL (Government Holdings Private Limited). The BoDs of remaining eight companies would be reconstituted in next 100 days, he added.

To a question, he said that LNG import agreements with other countries including Qatar, Iran and Turkmenistan (under TAPI or Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project) were very much intact. He asserted that LNG price from Turkmenistan was relatively low when compared to Qatar and Iran.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan mentioned that Peshawar region of the SNGPL showed 33 percent (around Rs 6 billion loss) of the total UGF (Rs 22 billion loss) of the company, asserting that main losses due to gas theft in Peshawar region were in oil and gas producing areas including Hangu, Kohat and Karak, which claims of their first right over gas. And as per law, he continued, population in five kilometer radius in gas producing area would be gasified, for which the respective gas company would bear cost of 54,000 house-holds, while rest would be paid by the provincial government. He said that KP government was agreed to control gas theft by regulating these areas and to pay over and above cost of gasification.

Responding to reporters’ query, the minister said that SNGPL has so far terminated its 10 employees, who were found involved in gas theft cases.