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December 25, 2018

Oil and gas exploration in Kohat division


December 25, 2018

PESHAWAR: A single bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday transferred to the division bench a writ petition requesting orders for the cancellation of licence of an oil and gas exploration company over the alleged theft of crude oil.

The single bench headed by Justice Muhammad Ayub Khan transferred the writ petition to a division bench of the high court with an observation that such cases were to be heard by a two-member bench.

Mujahid Islam, Naeemullah, and 48 others filed the writ petition in the high court through their lawyer Muazzam Butt. They sought an order for the formation of a joint investigation team to probe the theft of crude oil worth Rs142 billion from the oil and gas fields in Karak.

The lawyer informed the bench that the petition had been filed in the interest of public at large and thus it should be heard by a division bench of the high court. In the petition, the residents also requested the court to declare that the people of Karak, Kohat and Hangu, whose properties and lands suffered damage and faced health hazards and environmental degradation, were entitled to compensation by the provincial and federal governments. “The Federal Investigation Agency, other law-enforcement agencies, federal and provincial revenue authorities, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, OGDCL, and federal and provincial anti-corruption bodies were also involved in the oil and gas theft and other issues as they safeguarded the interest of the company,” stated the petition.

The petitioners claimed that the oil and gas company, MOL Pakistan, had started its operation in Pakistan when it was awarded an exploration license and petroleum concession agreement in February 1999.

The petitioners alleged that the company claimed to be producing 8,000 barrels per day of oil in the licensed area, whereas an inquiry conducted by the FIA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had found huge discrepancies and corrupt practices in the operation of the company as the production was more than 30,000 barrels. They claimed that the matter was also taken up by the National Assembly standing committee on petroleum a few years ago.

The petitioners alleged that all chemicals extracted from the wells were dumped so carelessly that these spread around the whole exploration sites attached with Gurguri area. They added that the chemicals were poisonous and had polluted water, which adversely affected people as well as wildlife.

They requested the court to declare that the petitioners and other inhabitants of Kohat division, including districts of Kohat, Karak and Hangu, had a fundamental right to clean drinking water, safe environment and safety of their lands and livestock. Oil and gas exploration in Kohat division

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