Govt forms panel to expedite LNG cargoes’ clearance

March 23,2019

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KARACHI: Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL), a state-owned buyer of imported gas, has constituted a panel of customs agencies to expedite cargoes’ clearance as demand of liquefied natural gas is expected to triple in three to five years, officials said on Friday.

The officials said PLL, a subsidiary of Government Holdings Private Limited, sought proposals from customs department and clearing agents to speed up cargo clearance. The company is responsible to buy LNG from international market to supply to the domestic market.

Last year, the country imported nearly seven million tons of LNG, which could grow to as high as 15 million tons this year and up to 25 million to 30 million tons over the next three to five years.

Officials said PLL intends to expedite clearance of LNG cargoes being imported on a delivered ex-ship basis at the re-gasification terminals at Port Qasim.

Short-listed customs clearing services will be required to submit an unconditional and irrevocable bank guarantee for an amount of one million rupees.

“Rate of cargo clearance and allied services will be based on per LNG shipment/call in local currency,” an official said. “This also includes facilitation required by PLL in getting registration from Web-Based One Customs.”

Official said the selected customs agency will also keep PLL updated at all times regarding any changes in customs law, taxes and duties schedule and any other tariff that may be applicable while also providing the relevant statutory regulatory orders applicable in the payment of the subject taxes. A customs agency would also be responsible for clearance by the customs and port authorities before the berthing of LNG carrier without any delay.

Government allowed private sector to directly import LNG to meet energy demand. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), late last year, approved the gas network code for use of gas pipelines of Sui Southern Gas Company and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited by any third party. But, they have to take licences from the Ogra and other relevant authorities and would have to pay the pipeline use charges to the companies.

Currently, the country has two LNG terminals with regas capacity of 1.2 billion to 1.3 billion cubic feet per day, or around nine million to 10 million tons of LNG a year.

The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet approved a third LNG terminal in Port Qasim.

Ministry of finance dismayed over the delay in the development of third LNG terminal and held the Port Qasim Authority responsible for the holdup.

The sources said a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy was held last week that pointed out lethargy on the part of PQA, as the authority did not provide a presentation/summary for setting up an additional LNG terminal at the Port Qasim.

Pakistan is, however, all set to become a major buyer of imported gas, with infrastructure in place and more projects in the pipeline, in Southeast Asia’s booming LNG market, which

accounts for two-thirds of the world’s demand and remains a centre point for the global LNG

industry.


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