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February 24, 2016

IP gas pipeline to be completed at all costs


February 24, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The government has said that work on Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline will start by end of this year and this project will be Pakistan-specific, and if India wants to join it, then it will need laying another pipeline.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told media persons here in a press conference that work on the IP pipeline will start by the end of the year and he is going to visit Iran next month.

“It will take some time as we have to yet find a financier and contractor for the project” he said. “Earlier, I was planning to go to Iran in February, but due to LNG deal it could not materialise and now I am visiting Iran next month.”

Regarding inclusion of India in this project, he said, “For the IP project, it’s over and now it is Pakistan specific Pipeline.” However the minister said, “If India wants to join it then another pipeline project would be needed.”

Abbasi categorically rejected Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s accusation that the federal government was not issuing No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to Hycarbex American Energy Inc, to undertake oil and gas exploration work in KP that causing a loss of billion of rupees to the province.

The minister said that M/s Hycarbex-American Energy Inc. was granted exploration licence on June 4, 2010 over Peshawar block located in districts Peshawar, Orakzai, Nowshera, Kohat, Hangu and Khyber agency for an initial period of three years to make investment of 5.9 million dollars. Imran Khan’s claim was not true, he added. There was also no reality in PTI chairman’s claim that the federal government was not issuing NOC to gas companies which had identified six gas fields in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

When asked about not providing six platoons of FC, demanded by the KP government, for the security of foreign companies the minister said “ We never said no to them but it cannot be provided abruptly,”. Under the Constitution there is standard procedure where the Interior Ministry will raise a required number of platoons for the purpose which is impossible to raise overnight,” he added.

The minister further said that gas theft in KP is causing a loss of eight billion rupees to the country and despite several requests the provincial government is not doing anything to stop it. In reply to a query about the gas losses in other provinces the minister said that there is gas loss and theft in all the provinces but in the villages of Karak it is massive blatant and unabashed.

The provincial government is doing nothing to stop the gas theft and even chief minister KP has informed the federal government and shown his inability to control the gas theft.

After PTI chief’s allegation, the minister said that the representatives of the company were called in at the DG PC office to discuss the issue claimed by Imran Khan. They have categorically stated that they have no complaints against the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources as no NOC is required or pending with the federal government,” he added.He said according to the article 3.2 (b), the Peshawar block petroleum concession agreement, the operator was bound to commence joint operation within 90 days, but the company did not initiate the work even after lapse of more than five years time.

“The company had not discharged even a single work unit and they had requested an extension in the exploration licence without any cogent reason, a 60 days notice was issued to the company on September 18, 2015,” he added.

In the meantime, he said management of the company changed pursuant to finalisation of the award of arbitration proceedings outside Pakistan.The minister further informed that they are considering the company’s request for extension of the exploration licence to fulfill their contractual obligations.

Abbasi said that despite the lapse of time, the government had not cancelled the licence of the company due to dispute in its management. After solving of the disputes, the company was allowed to carry out its work, he added. He said that the company had failed to pay Rs81 million financial obligations to the federal government for training, area rent and social welfare.

Regarding the Sindh government announcement for ending load shedding for CNG station in the province, the minister said that for interrupted supply they need more gas but it is not possible to allocate a gas field in the current scenario. However, the minister said that they have offered the provision of RLNG to the province.

He said that for the first time in history, on the demand of the KP government, gas has been allocated to a provincial government for power generation projects.When asked whether India was buying cheaper LNG than Pakistan, the minister said that India was buying 8.5 million tonnes of LNG and Pakistan is purchasing 3.75 million tonnes but “Our LNG import rate are cheaper as compared with India.”

To a question he said that notices were issued to 21 exploration companies for not carrying out promised work in the petroleum sector, out of which 15 licences were cancelled by the government till date for not following the singed agreement.He asked the KP government if they have any complaints they should come and set with the federal government.


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