LAHORE - FIA has started an inquiry into the embezzlement of Rs86 billion committed by national and multinational oil and gas companies, documents available with The Nation reveal.

“We have recovered 1.47 billion rupees so far during investigation of different companies,” an FIA investigator said.

Audit, Customs and Petroleum director general is reluctant to provide record to the FIA investigators, well placed sources in the agency said.

According to the audit report of 2012-13 and 2014 of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, 40 national and multinational oil and gas companies embezzled 134 billion rupees during 2012 to 2015. Out of which the ministry had recovered Rs48 billion while 86 billion were yet to be recovered.

These companies collected above said money from the masses in lieu of petroleum levy and gas surcharge and embezzled it subsequently.

As per audit report these companies also sold oil and gas worth billions of rupees in connivance with the officials of petroleum ministry after misappropriating the same from 34 oil wells in the name of ‘Test Production’ during last six years, complaint received to FIA said.

The FIA was of the view that as per law, test production cannot be carried for more than two years after which either the oil well has to be closed or declared fit for sale on commercial basis.

During the year 2014, two oil companies - MOL and OMV - misappropriated oil and gas worth Rs40 billion, according to the complaint. During the year 2013, Pakistani and multinational companies illegally sold oil and gas amounting to Rs60 billion. In 2012, oil and gas worth Rs34 billion were misappropriated and tax was evaded.

Upon being pointed by auditors, the petroleum ministry recovered Rs48 billion from these companies who have embezzled a total of Rs86 billion. These companies include OGDC, PSO, Mari Company, Hycerbax, OMV, Moris, Mole, Pakistan Oil Field and United Energy etc.

The companies which got oil and gas exploration licences in 2002 neither invested even a single dollar nor did they ditch a single oil well even after lapse of 10 years, the complainant lamented.

Among these companies are Hashu group’s Ocean and Zevar petroleum, Tallo, Heritage, UEP, Devan Petroleum and Rally Energy of Devan Group, Saif Energy, Oil and Gas Investment Ltd of AKD Group, Takar Energy, PEL, MESA, Sprignt Energy and others.

BYCO is facing allegation of embezzlement of Rs4.19 billion and Pakistan Oil Field allegedly embezzled Rs2.27 billion in lieu of petroleum levy.

Sui Northern and Sui Southern also misappropriated billions of rupees collected in lieu of gas surcharge and included in their profit the amount of gas surcharge whereas this amount had to be deposited in national exchequer.

On recovery from different companies, FIA director general appreciated the FIA Lahore’s performance and awarded cash prize for investigator Muhammad Amman Ullah Khan, assistant director of Corporate Crime Circle, FIA Lahore.