ISLAMABAD - Minister of Petroleum and Natural resources Khakan Abbasi on Thursday denied accusations of foul play in contract process for LNG project .
In an interview to The Nation, he said his ministry would float tenders for the bidding of LNG (liquefied natural gas) supplier. “There will be a competitive bidding in which any company can take part”, he said, adding that open bidding would generate a competition and contract would be given to the company offering lowest price.
Abbasi rejected pre-selection of Qatar Gas Company for LNG contract through a non-transparent process, while he also denied any involvement of ex-chief of accountability court Saifur Rehman in the contract process. “It is a government-to-government project . From our side PSO is nominated while Qatar Gas Company is nominated by Qatar government,” he said.
The minister however said that Qatar Gas Company will not take part in the open bidding, which was aimed at getting other suppliers. He said selection of supplier is a complex process and it would take time. “This is a Rs30-40 billion project . Its agreement cannot be done overnight; it will take time,” Abbasi remarked.
The minister also said that no prices of LNG has been finalised with any supplier. Ministry of petroleum has been criticised on signing an MOU with Qatar Petroleum without finalising the prices. On the basis of global trends, it was also projected that in coming years LNG demand will decrease and prices will fall.
Government is planning to import LNG gas from Qatar to meet soaring natural gas demand in the country. In this regard, federal cabinet last week approved $2 billion LNG Services Agreement between the Sui Southern and ETPL, a subsidiary of Engro Corporation.
According to the agreement, ETPL has to complete the construction of a LNG terminal in 335 days; otherwise, it will have to pay a penalty of 150,000 dollar per day. Ministry has not set any date for the finalisation of the supplier. The minister told that the initial supply at Port Qasim terminal will be 200 million cubic feet but its actual total capacity would be 600 million cubic feet.