Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir) The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum was held on Thursday at Parliament House. Presided over by Senator Abdul Qadir; the meeting was attended by Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Prince Ahmed Omer Ahmedzai, Senator Afnan Ullah Khan, Senator Shamim Afridi, Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Senator Muhammad Qasim and senior officers from the Petroleum Division and OGRA along with all concerned.
The meeting commenced with a detailed briefing by the Petroleum Division and SNGPL on non-availability of gas in District Kohat. The Committee took serious notice of the issue and stressed the need for all out efforts to ensure that the residents of Kohat and other remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are provided with gas. Members asserted that it was extremely unfair that the local community of an area that supplied gas to the rest of Pakistan remains deprived of it.
The Committee was assured that SNGPL will leave no stone unturned to ensure the availability of gas to the local populace. It was revealed that PKR 441 million has been allocated to rectify gas pressure in this territory. The need for a concrete national policy to resolve energy issues in Pakistan; especially in view of severe gas reserve depletion was stressed. The Chairman stressed the need to modernize DGPC so that they can negotiate to bring international oil and gas exploration and production companies back in the country. The committee discussed that some exploration and production companies had gone into litigation on account of prices, because of which local production process has compromised.
The chairman urged to devise a strategy to reset the prices internally in a bid to increase local production. Considering the Point of Public Importance raised by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi regarding non-provision of jobs in TAL Block, the Committee was informed that the amount of local human resource from these areas amounted to 599 workers. It was observed that 85 percent of Human Resource came from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A sub-Committee was formed to probe the matter in more detail; announcement of the members will be made at a later date. Taking an update of gas schemes for various cities in Balochistan, the Committee showed concern regarding 16 non-gassified districts. It was asserted that all out efforts must be made to ensure that these areas are given access to gas.
The need for setting LPG plants in all such areas was stressed and a commercial model must be formulated and submitted to the Committee at the earliest. Chairman OGRA, assured the Committee of complete support and said that the current 1.5 percent of LPG penetration must be taken to 5 percent to deal with the prevalent shortage in these areas. National strategy for this is imperative, he added. It was recommended that an in-camera meeting with the FIA must be conducted for more details on the issues of cross-border smuggling and infiltration. Regarding gas shortage in various localities of Ghazi, Haripur; the Committee was informed that the matter has been resolved and a compliance report will be submitted to the Committee in the next meeting.
Taking up the issue of progress on the establishment of LNG terminal at Gwadar Port, the Committee was informed that work on LNG virtual pipeline was in progress. However, challenges abound. The Committee while reviewing the matter in detail stressed the need for facilitation of private companies involved and directed that NOCs must be granted at the earliest so that business efforts remain unhampered. Formulation of a taskforce in this regard was recommended.