ISLAMABAD                   -               Sindh has said that the no cabinet body is authorised to make decisions regarding the gas distribution among the provinces, only Council of Common Interest is appropriate forum for the matter.

Neither Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet nor Cabinet Committee on Energy is authorised to make decisions regarding gas distribution among the provinces and only CCI is the appropriate forum for such decisions, said Sindh Energy Minister while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum here Friday.

He said that Sindh is producing 2500 MMCFD to 2600 MMCFD of gas but the province is getting only 900 to 1000 MMCFD against the demand of 1500 to 1750 MMCFD.

The Senate Standing Committees on Petroleum, which met under the chairmanship of Senator Mohsin Aziz, discussed the gas distribution among the provinces and Sindh complaint regarding violation of Article 158 of the constitution and other issues related to oil and gas sector.

OGDCL has once again told the committees that the services of around 13 engineers, hailing from Balochistan, working on contract basis in OGDCL cannot be regularized without going through the process of test and interview. Executive Director OGDCL, Dr Naseem said that Supreme Court has clear instructions regarding the jobs of these employees. He said that the issue is not just related to the service of just 13 engineers from the provinces but of 84. He categorically stated that service of no one will be make permanent without advertisement.

Federal Minister for Petroleum, Omer Ayub requested the committee to defer the agenda item related to gas distribution among the provinces as Special Advisor to Prime Minister, Nadeem Babar is visiting Sindh to discuss the same. “We want to resolve the issue with mutual understanding,” the minister said. He said don’t discuss this issue in front of media. Chairman of the committee said that they don’t want to incite the matter of gas distribution among the provinces.

However, secretary Energy Sindh insisted that the issue of gas distribution is not on the agenda of SAPM. Secretary Petroleum Division, Asad Hayauddin said that the gas distribution is on the agenda of SAPM meeting.

The CCI has given direction regarding the gas distribution among the provinces. The council has directed to give preference to the domestic consumers of all the provinces.

Secretary Energy Sindh Mussadiq Khan Tahirkhaili said the article 158 of the constitution has clearly stated that the province from where the gas is being extracted will have the first right on gas usages.

The committee was informed that the gas shortage was discussed by CCI in detail and had constituted a committee to probe the matter. The report of the CCI committee is awaited, it was informed.

Director General Petroleum Concessions, Imran Ahmad, informed the committee that since 2015-16, 43 discoveries of oil and gas have been made in the country. It was informed that currently 30 local and foreign companies are working in oil and gas exploration.

Executive Director OGDCL, Dr Naseem Ahmad told the committee that three discoveries were made by the OGDCL during current year. He said that they are providing 1500 mmcfd gas to the system.