ISLAMABAD - Minister Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that gas reserves in KPK are depleting at a fast speed while efforts to find new oil and gas reserves have been expedited.

Briefing the sub-committee of Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources he said production from these fields had witnessed two to three percent reduction and the situation could get worse if no new gas was injected into the system. Abbasi said gas worth billion of rupees is stolen in Kohat division through illegal connections. He suggested strict measures to stop gas theft. The committee also expressed dismay over violation of rules by the provincial government for utilisation of 10 percent of the royalty fee government on uplift projects in the area where oil and gas was produced. The minister said the royalty collected by the federal government was paid to the provincial governments, which were supposed to utilise 10 percent of the royalty for infrastructure development in the districts where oil and gas was produced. The committee also directed the oil and gas exploration companies to provide complete list of its employees including skilled and unskilled workforce as to know if priority was given in employment to local people.

The committee’s members suggested that locals should be given priority in jobs to overcome law and order situation in the area. They said when job is denied to locals they react which create law and order situation. Committee Convener Abdul Nabi Bangash said that 1800 local Balochs were working on Saindek project. He said Kohat Division was producing 46,000 barrels oil and KPK has an overall 27 percent share in total production of natural gas in the country. He said despite all contribution of KPK locals are not given employments and the areas which are producing natural gas are without gas supply.

He said he has received thousands of job applications from highly educated youth of Kohat divisions, he suggested concerning companies to give them jobs.

Senator Talha opined the company could save billions of rupees, spent on security, by providing jobs to local people. He expressed his reservations on giving Saindak project back to China and said that oil and gas companies working in country should benefit from local talent by employing them. MD ODGCL Riaz Khan said compressors had been purchased to inject into system 1 mmcd low-pressure gas that used to be wasted in flare up at a gas field at Karak. Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood, Osman Saifullah Khan and officials of the ministry of petroleum and natural resources, SNGPL and MOL, attended the meeting.