Islamabad    -    A senate committee was informed that massive energy crises had been averted in the past due to LNG and warned that if today its import was stopped the country will face gas load shedding.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) had saved Pakistan from massive energy crisis back 2009 and even if we take LNG out of system today the similar situation crisis will resurface, Petroleum Division Secretary Mian Asad Haya-u-din said while briefing the senate standing committee on Petroleum.

The secretary warned that that massive load shedding would start again in case LNG import is stopped. It is pertinent to mention here that the country had faced severe gas and electricity crises from 2009 to 2013. The energy supply situation had been improved after the import of LNG by PML (N) government. The former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who was petroleum minister at the time of signing the LNG agreement is currently in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) custody in connection with LNG deal.

The committee that met under the Chairmanship of Senator Mohsin Aziz was further informed by Secretary Petroleum that LNG is imported in line with the demand placed by power sector. It was informed that production of indigenous gas stood at 4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) against total demand of 6 bcfd. It was informed that country was importing 1.2 bcfd LNG to meet the local requirements. 

Senator Nauman Wazir criticised the government over importing LNG without proper planning. He raised question that local gas production was dropped to import more LNG that resulted in packing the pipeline system of SNGPL. He said that LNG was being imported more than actual demand of the country.   

Regarding the matter of non-regularisation of services of 13 engineers by OGDCL appointed under the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Program the Committee was told by OGDCL Executive Director that there are clear instructions of Supreme Court that contract employees have to go through a press advertisement and a test and the Balochistan high court decision asking for regularisation will be challenged in Supreme Court by OGDCL.

He said that these employees were hired on contract and were not being regularised. OGDCL managing director informed that committee that there were 85 employees were hired before this package. He said that nine engineers were given job under Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan.

Members of the Committee, however, were of the view that many people have been regularised without giving any tests and many those who have tests were not. Secretary petroleum proposed that the matter be taken up in the OGDCL board in the next meeting and be solved on a considerate basis. The committee decided to recommend to the board to hold the meeting as early as possible.

The committee was given briefing about the new discoveries in oil and gas sector in the country especially in Kohat, Karak, and northern areas along with the estimated quantity of the same and efforts made for further exploration of oil and gas reserves in the country.  Discovery of Tough-I in Kohat was made at depth of 3200 meters in August 2019. The recoverable reserves will give 0.386 MMTB oil and 32 BCF gas. The well was tested at the rate of 12.7 MMCFD of gas and 240 BPD of condensate through choke size 32/64.  Discovery of Mela-5 at depth of 5070 meters was made in July 2018. The recoverable reserves are 1.5 MMSTB oil and 4 BCF gas and its reserves are already being transferred to SNGPL and Attock oil refinery.

 Discovery of Chanda-I at depth of 4550 meter was made in June 2018 for 5.2 MMSTB oil and 27 BCF gas and it is also a developed field. It was informed that 11 more exploratory/appraisal/development wells are under drilling and 30 more are to be done in future.

Senator Nauman Wazir demanded that KPOGCL should be given 25 per cent share in oil and gas reserves. However, secretary petroleum said that provinces could not get share in such a way. It was informed that OGDCL was working on development of 11 new wells of oil and gas. The committee was informed that Balochistan has also demanded 2.5 percent share in Block 28 of the province.

Senator Nauman Wazir also raised the issue of appointment of executive directors (EDs) in Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).He said that these directors were not qualified but they were drawing million of rupees on account of salaries. The committee sought details of these directors and their perks and privileges. He also said that OGDCL was being run on adhoc system and its permanent chief executive officer (CEO) had not been appointed for the last five years. The current board of directors of OGDCL had picked the candidates that were selected by previous board one year back.

While discussing the grievances of Mutahida Anjuman-e-Phkhta Chaey(Tea) Faroushaan Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regarding discrimination in charging bills as compared to those being charged from tandoors, the Committee recommended putting simple roadside chaey hotels on the same rate as tandoors.