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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Thursday recommended to take the government’s policy on distribution of gas to various sectors for greater debate in the parliament after the Petroleum Division’s failure to supply pipeline gas to 27 percent of total population in winters.

The need for a concrete national policy to resolve energy issues in Pakistan; especially in view of severe gas reserve depletion was stressed at the meeting.

Secretary Petroleum Ali Raza Bhutta endorsed the statement of the member committee, Mohsin Aziz, who said that the government should ban domestic connections of indigenous gas as gas reserve depletion of nine percent annually.

Secretary said the appliances used in domestic sector had 20 percent gas efficient against power sector where efficiency was 60 percent.

The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum was held on Thursday at the Parliament House. Senator Abdul Qadir, while presiding the meeting said the policy on gas distribution should be debated in the parliament proceedings.

The committee was informed on on-going import of LPG by ships and letters were written to various ministries and alleged that the LPG was smuggled via Iran through ships and money laundering was also involved.

The chairman OGRA assured the Committee of complete support and said the current 1.5 percent of LPG penetration must be taken to five percent to deal with the prevalent shortage in those areas. He suggested the matter under investigation of investing agencies should be dealt carefully.

National strategy for that was 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. Managing Director Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) said the officials of the FIA also visited the terminal of LPG where 50 percent gas was imported through.

He maintained that officials did not ask them to stop the import of gas. The meeting commenced with a detailed briefing by the Petroleum Division and the 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 the 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.

Considering the point of public importance raised by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi regarding non-provision of jobs in TAL Block of MOL in Districts Kohat, Karak, and Hangu, 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 the KP. 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.

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 the NOCs must be granted at the earliest, so that business efforts remain unhampered.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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