Govt moves to ensure transparency in LNG buying

Published August 5, 2021
In this file photo, Finance Minister Hammad Azhar is addressing a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, Finance Minister Hammad Azhar is addressing a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Taking some corrective measures in procurement of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the government on Wednesday ordered its two entities — Pakistan State Oil and Pakistan LNG Ltd — to make public disclosure of bidding results in a timely manner to ensure transparency.

“Both the entities are advised to publish the results of the procurement decisions within 24 hours on their respective websites,” ordered Energy Minister Hammad Azhar to the two state-owned entities involved in the procurement of LNG.

In separate letters, the minister also asked the chairmen of the board of directors (BoDs) of the two firms to themselves deliberate upon and decide the matter of procurement of spot RLNG (Regasified LNG) cargoes “to enhance transparency and further improve processes”.

The minister said “these instructions are meant to ensure professional oversight by the respective BODs on such vital issues, as well as to ensure timely release of procurement information, which is mandatory for ensuring market efficiency as well as public disclosure”.

Through his Twitter handle, the minister also said he had advised the BODs of PSO and PLL to “deliberate & decide on timing, acceptance or rejection of bids” and that “decisions taken in this regard to be posted on their websites”.

The minister said the process of spot buying of RLNG was already conducted through competitive bidding and tenders and the objective now of these enhanced measures of transparency was to end speculation and misreporting.

The decision followed inter-ministerial discussions on recent public criticism on timing, processes and bidding results leading to some of the expensive spot purchases by the two companies. Non-public disclosure of bidding results had also come under debate including comparisons of spot and long-term LNG import deals. This had led, among other things, withdrawal of gazette notification of RLNG sale price because of non-disclosure of full procurement results.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2021

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