Govt to reconstitute BoDs of oil and gas companies within 100 days

ISLAMABAD: Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said on Friday that the government has decided to reconstitute the board of directors (BoD) and appoint professional chief executive officers (CEOs) of all state-run oil and gas companies within next 100 days.

Addressing a press conference, Sarwar Khan said a criterion has been laid down to reconstitute the BoDs and appoint professional CEOs of all 14 oil and gas companies within the next 100 days.

“There will be no favouritism as all appointments will be made in line with international practices and as per the policy of merit. Advertisement for top slots of oil and gas companies will be made soon,” the petroleum minister said. “The government has so far reconstituted the board of directors of six companies while the remaining boards would be reconstituted within three months.”

On the recent hike in gas prices, Sarwar said that a higher increase in gas prices was made for elite the consumers like those sitting in ‘Jati Umra’, adding that the losses of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited and Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Limited had increased exorbitantly and now they were given a target to reduce these losses.

The petroleum minister said that the state-owned gas companies would have to decrease the UfG (unaccounted for gas) level by at least 1 per cent annually. “At present, gas losses and theft ratio of both SNGPL and SSGCL are alarmingly high and need to witness a significant downtrend per annum.”

He said losses of both companies stood at 11 and 13 per cent respectively or Rs152 billion, as the prices remained unchanged for the last five years.

“Since one per cent of UfG is equivalent to Rs2billion, strict measures coupled with effective monitoring will be undertaken to control the menace of gas theft and subsequent losses in the country,” he added.

On the government’s decision of maintaining zero gas load shedding in winter, the petroleum minister said that the government had decided to provide subsidised gas to five industrial sectors, adding that the government would provide a Rs25 billion subsidy during three winter months.

He further said that the government had also reduced general sales tax by 7 per cent on LPG which resulted in reducing the prices of domestic LPG cylinder to Rs1,359 from Rs1,800.

Talking about the performance of the former government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with regard to the petroleum sector, Sarwar Khan lamented that the previous government did not auction a single block during the last five years.

He said that the incumbent government had selected 40 blocks out of which 10 had been auctioned to explore indigenous gas. He claimed that the federal government had written letters to the provinces seeking names to represent them on board of directors of oil and gas companies, adding that the government had also decided to revise the petroleum policy.

Sarwar Khan on the occasion announced that ExxonMobil would start a 1,900-meter deep offshore drilling, some 230 kilometres away from Karachi, in January next year (2019). He said that a drilling rig was on its way from Mozambique in this regard.

He said that the government was working on three gas pipelines which included TAPI, IP and offshore gas pipeline, adding that work on TAPI pipeline was on an advanced stage.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected]
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