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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar and Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi are, said to have locked horns over the issue of handling of Q-Flex vessels, especial vehicles to carry liquefied natural gas (LNG), at Port Qasim, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

On October 4, 2021, the Cabinet Committee on Transport of Logistics (CCoT&L) while discussing the issue regarding handling of Q-Flex vessels at Port Qasim Karachi, Ministry of Maritime Affairs asked CCoT&L to direct Pakistan Gas Port Consortium Limited (PGPCL) to undertake dredging of berthing basin as per report of M/s DNV.GL (Germany) by the 1st week of November, 2021.

The Committee which is headed by Minister for MoMA Ali Zaidi agreed that efforts should be made to vacate the PGPCL stay order.

LNG terminal: emergency shutdown repair

The sources said, when this issue was presented in the Cabinet meeting held on October 12, 2021 presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar and Ali Zaidi were seen locking horns over the issue of placing it before the Federal Cabinet. Hammad Azhar, sources said, was of the view that since it is purely an operational issue, hence it should have not be presented before the Federal Cabinet. “Handling of Q-Flex vessels at Port Qasim Karachi” should not have been brought to the Cabinet as it was purely an operational issue,” said Azhar. However, Minister for Maritime Affairs/Chairman CCOTL differed with the contention and felt that issue had policy implications, as well.

According to sources, sensing a clash between both the ministers, the Federal Cabinet deferred ratification of “handling of Q Flex vessels at Port Qasim Karachi” and both Ministers were directed to discuss and resolve the issue in first instance. Both the Ministers have yet to hold any meeting to resolve this issue.

When contacted for comments on the issue of Q-Flex vessels, Minister for Energy, Hammad Azhar who opposed presentation of CCoT&L decision about Q-Flex vessels before the Federal Cabinet for ratification, said: “We will have meeting on it as soon as Secretary Petroleum reruns from aboard.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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