ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee was Monday informed that the commercial agreement for Gwadar-Nawabshah Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal and Pipeline Project with China will be signed this month.

“Work on the project will be started during next two months and will be completed in two years,” said Managing Director Inter State Gas Company Limited (ISGCL), Mobin Saulat while briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources. The meeting was chaired by Bilal Ahmed Virk.

Meanwhile, taking notice of the public complaints regarding overbilling, the committee directed the SNGPL and SSGC to place photos of meter-reading on their utility bills, like WAPDA, to facilitate consumers and avoid excessive billings.

The terminal has the capacity to handle imported LNG of 500 million cubic feet of per day (mmcfd). The LNG pipeline, which will be of 42-inch diameter, will be laid from Gwadar to Nawabshah. The Chinese government would provide 85 percent funds for the project, while Pakistan would contribute 15 percent of funds. The project comprises of laying 700 km pipeline system from Gwadar to Nawabshah and installation of FSRU (floating storage and Re-gasification Unit) based on LNG re-gasification facility at Gwadar deep sea port for injection into pipeline system. This project will be executed under government to government agreement.

Mobin Saulat further said that as the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline was stagnant due to the United States and UN sanctions on Iran, so this project will work as an alternative to IP gas pipeline project and after the completion of Gwadar-Nawabshah pipeline, only about 70km of pipeline segment between Gwadar and Iranian border would be left which could be constructed at the cost of $200 million to connect to the border. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has already approved construction of 700km Gwadar-Nawabshah pipeline.

Regarding Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, he said that it will be completed by end 2019 and bring gas from Turkmenistan to other three countries. Under this project, a total 3.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas will be imported from Turkmenistan, out of which share of India and Pakistan will be 1.32 bcfd each and the Afghanistan with 500 mmcfg. Turkmenistan, being the consortium leader for the TAPI Project, will contribute up to 85 percent of equity, and Afghanistan, Pakistan and India would take five percent each equity share in the Project Company. This is $10b project in which Pakistan’s share will be $200m Turkmengas aims to achieve financial close by Dec 2016.

About North-South Gas Pipeline Project (Project), it was informed that Pakistan and Russia last year in October had entered into a government to government agreement for development of this project having the capacity of transporting 1.2 bcfd gas from Karachi to Lahore by laying 1100 km 42-inch pipeline. Its commissioning will be completed by June 2018, he said.

Managing Director Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Sheikh Imran Ul Haq, while briefing the committee, said that the financial health of the PSO is improving and informed that the company’s profit was Rs21 billion in 2014, Rs6.9 billion in 2015 and Rs10.2 billion in 2016. He further said that in 2013, PSO imported petroleum products of Rs876 billion, in 2014 Rs349 billion and in 2015 the amount of imported product was Rs567 billion.

Managing Director SNGPL Amjad Latif informed the committee that there was Rs10 billion gas theft in the region under the SNGPL. Due to ban on commercial and industrial gas connections, domestic connections have been used for industrial and commercial purposes, he said. MD SNGPL informed lawmakers that the company had a stringent system of accountability for the employees found involved in gas theft, adding that it initiated disciplinary inquiries against 96 employees. From July 2013 to August 2016, he said, the company identified 130,516 theft cases in its operational areas, involving 18,031 mmcf gas and  Rs 10,496 million in stolen money. While, it identified gas theft of 22,819 mmcf by non-consumers and 34,154 mmcf in law and order affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

MD SSGC said that theft cases of Rs2.5 billion had been identified in its region.  However he said that as per record there was no evidence regarding the company employees' involvement in gas theft. However, he apprised that the company in the year 2015-16 detected 1,265 theft cases, registered 118 FIRs (first information reports), charged 713 mmcf gas and recovered Rs 613 million from the industrial pilferers. Whereas, he said, the company identified 1,335 cases, registered 91 FIRs against the domestic gas pilferers, who stole 6,689 mmcf gas amounting to Rs 1,1992 million, during last three years.

The Committee also directed SSGCL and SNGPL management to expedite the recovery process of the outstanding amounts. The Committee also directed the gas companies to print reading of the meters on the bills of industrial and domestic consumers to eliminate the element of corruption or excessive billing. The Committee also directed both the gas companies to complete the ongoing gas development schemes under MDGs program within stipulated timelines and expedite provision of gas meters to the areas where gas infrastructure had been laid.

The Committee directed OGRA not to allow conversion of defaulter CNG stations to LPG till they clear the dues of utility companies. Chairperson OGRA assured the Committee that the authority would ensure compliance of directions of the Committee. The Chairperson further informed the Committee that OGRA had allowed 200,000 additional connections per year to gas companies besides approval of development budget for new schemes of both gas companies for public facilitation.

 

Minister for petroleum and natural resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, MNA Muhammad Arshad Khan Laghari, Rana Afzal Hussain, Rana Afzaal Hussain, Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan, AbduI Waseem, Sajid Ahmed, Akram Khan Durrani, Ms Shahjehan Muneer Mangrio, Muhammad Afzal Khokar, Syed Muhammad Saqlain Bukhari, Pir Bux Junejo, Secretary M/o P&NR, representatives from provincial energy departments and senior officers of the departments concerned attended the meeting.