ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary body was told yesterday that incidents of sabotage and rupture in gas lines have declined in different parts of the country except Balochistan.

Director General Petroleum Concession (DGPC) Saeed Ullah Shah from Ministry of Petroleum said this during a briefing to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on exploration and production activities in Pakistan.

He said that the country has currently trillion of cubic feet reserves of shale gas. He was optimistic about the country’s bright future in terms of shale gas resources in different areas. The country has no capacity to extract the shale gas resources by its own and it would have to get foreign companies’ services for this purpose, he told the committee.

Shah told the committee that a total sedimentary area is 827,268 sq kilometres and the area under exploration is 361,466 sq kilometres.

He told the committee that Pakistan is producing the natural gas less than 30 percent of the domestic requirement. As many as 325 including (72 Oil and 251 gas) discoveries have so far been made.

“The success rate in this field is 34 percent,” he said adding that there are 2,210 wells across the country with 947 exploration wells and 1,263 development wells. The ministry has issued 179 exploration licenses and 160 leases.

Giving breakup of oil and gas in provinces, he said in KPK as much as 34,104.17 sqkm area is under exploration with 36 percent success rate.

“In Balochistan, 112,713.38 sqkm area is under exploration for oil and gas with 28 percent success rate, while in Punjab, 68,997.89 sqkm area is under exploration with 25 percent success rate,” he added.

About discoveries, he said both KPK and Balochistan have 15 discoveries each, Punjab has 42 discoveries and Sindh has 255 discoveries.

He said that KPK is leading in the exploration of oil with 42,601 barrel oil per day followed by Sindh with 31,179 barrels oil per day. Sindh is the highest producer of the natural gas with a share of 2,780 mmcfd followed by Balochistan with 875 mmcfd.

Earlier, reviewing the audit objection about the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, the committee settled the audit objection of the Rs 1129 million loss due to the leakage of gas in Quetta.

The audit official said that in Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL), it was observed that the total Unaccounted for Gas (UFG) in Quetta was 5778 MMCF during the year 2008-09, resulting in the loss of Rs 1,129.63 million. The Surveillance and Monitoring Department of Quetta detected only two cases of gas theft comprising only one MMCF out of total 5778 MMCF of UFG in Quetta, the audit observed.

The huge loss on account of gas theft indicated loose controls in the company on the part of department, said the audit official.

While the ministry replied that UFG represents losses incurred due to theft, leakage, measurement, errors, third-party damage, sabotage, rupture in gas line, etc.

Responding to the concerns, the ministry official admitted that it should have been done earlier.

The PAC members also commented that it was carelessness and negligence on the part of the ministry.

Reviewing the audit objection regarding irregular appointments of executives on contract basis involving impact worth Rs 34.5 million, the committee settled the objection subject to verification.

The audit official told the meeting that the management in Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) appointed 64 executives on contract basis during the period from 2002 to 2010.

The executives were appointed in violation of the standing instructions of the government as the posts were never advertised.

The company was incurring an expenditure of Rs34 million per annum on account of pay and allowance and other benefits allowed to the executives, the audit revealed.

Regarding irregular appointment of a legal consultant on contract basis worth Rs2.8 million, the committee settled the objections subject to verification by the audit.