Senate committee orders action against gas theft in Sindh, Balochistan

KARACHI: A parliamentary panel was informed on Thursday to consider over 385 cases that were registered against all types of pipeline crimes/violations.

The committee was informed that these cases were registered against all types of pipeline crimes/violations out of which 26 convictions were secured and 56 accused were fined millions of rupees.  To-date there have been no convictions against any PARCO staff.  

The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum was convened at Parliament House, and presided over by Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir. Members present included Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Shamim Afridi, Senator Saifullah Abro and senior officers from Ministry of Energy (petroleum division), OGDCL and OGRA along with all concerned. 

Matters discussed included gas theft from the main pipeline, especially in Sindh; Gas load shedding in Sindh; Gas loadshedding in Balochistan and the non-establishment of LPG stations in Panjgur; PSO not chartering PNSC Fleet for POL, and finally the 11 Oil and Gas discoveries by OGDCL in the past year.   

On the matter of gas load shedding in SIndh, the committee took strict notice of the fact that numerous industries were involved in theft by installing large compressors to divert gas supply towards them. The ommittee demanded details of companies and for action taken against them.    

Regarding gas load shedding in Balochistan and non-establishment of LPG stations in Panjgur, the committee raised concerns regarding usurpation of rights of smaller provinces and asserted that the issue must be addressed. The matter of closure of gas supply to gas stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was taken up as well and the committee was informed that this was done to ensure gas supply to domestic consumers. 

Members recommended that the matter must be taken up with the prime minister.  

On the matter of slab rate for Balochistan, Qadir stressed the need to ensure that the people must be facilitated and that these rates are not to be applied to bills in Balochistan in the three severe cold weather months as they contend with harsh weather. He said that all efforts must be made to protect the poor man from increase in gas rates as recommended by the IMF. 

Hearing out the stakeholders on the issue of PSO’s reluctance to charter PNSC Fleet for POL, Qadir stressed that in view of the current financial crisis the country faces, it is essential that preference be given to local companies. This, he added, would ensure drainage of dollars and growth of local businesses and enterprises. He recommended that PSO’s need to charter the PNSC fleet for import of high Speed diesel and Mogas products in Pakistan. Such a move will be helpful in preserving around $ 200 million per year as mode of payment to PNSC will be made in local currency. Chairman PNSC also assured PSO of quality service with competitive rates. 

While sharing details of Oil and Gas discoveries made by OGDCL with the Committee, it was informed that during the past year a total of 11 Oil and Gas discoveries were made in Pakistan. Reviewing the list, Qadir stressed the need to commence gas/crude oil production to the system at the earliest at the sites. He also stressed the need for efforts to activate old discoveries so that the impending energy crisis may be tackled effectively by tapping these potential reserves. He also issued a directive to SSGC and SNGPL to tackle the issue of low gas pressure and interruption particularly in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtukhwa being gas producing provinces. He directed that the matter of leakage and pilferage need to be talked about on a priority basis and facilitate people with timely and enough gas supply so that their grievances are addressed.

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