ISLAMABAD: The Natio­nal Assembly Standing Com­m­ittee on Petroleum and Natural Resources on Thu­rsday was informed that Pakistan is set to sign commercial agreements with Chinese and Russian government in two months for construction of Gwadar-Nawa­bshah and Karachi-Lahore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) pipelines.

The committee meeting was chaired by Chaudhary Bilal Ahmed Virk.

Managing Director Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS), Mobin Saulat informed the committee that China will lay Gawadar-Nawabshah LNG pipeline at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion and Russia will construct Karachi-Lahore pipeline at a cost $2bn.

Mr Saulat said both pipelines will be completed by the end of 2017 and will help transport 1.2bn cubic feet gas per day (bcfd) imported LNG.

In phase one, LNG terminals in Gawadar and Karachi will be built each with a capacity to handle 600 million cubic feet LNG. In phase two, LNG terminals in Karachi and Gawadar will be completed with the same capacity.

INQUIRY ORDERED: The committee directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct an inquiry into the reported theft of crude oil from Naspha Oilfield in Karak district, Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa and submit its preliminary findings by May 24, 2016.

The issue of oil theft has been under discussion in the committee for more than a year, with accusations that police, local influential and even the employees of the company producing oil and gas from the region were involved.

DISCRIMINATION SLA­MMED: Discussing another agenda item, committee member Nisar Khan observed that provincial governments were discriminating against the oil and gas producing district and tehsils in terms of allocation and utilisation of royalty and production bonus.

The committee directed the representative of provincial energy departments to present details of the royalty remitted to the provinces by the federal government and its subsequent allocation in the past three years.

The committee also sought details of executed and ongoing schemes in the relevant oil and gas producing district and tehsils. The committee directed in­v­o­lvement of local representatives in identification of development schemes in future.

The meeting also asked Director General Petroleum Concession, Saeed Ullah Shah to verify the figures provided by the provincial energy departments.

Mr Shah told the committee that the licences of non-performing oil and gas exploration and production companies have been revoked out of which 12 companies have gone into litigation and were granted stay orders by the courts.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2016