ISLAMABAD: The Petroleum Division has moved its three-day retreat from historic Takht-e-Babri in Punjab to picturesque Whispering Pines in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to discuss oil and gas sector issues and celebrate Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s austerity measures.
More than 55 top executives of public sector entities from across the country and the Petroleum Division, including Minister of State Dr Musadik Malik, have been advised to come up with substantial cash or other financial arrangements as ATMs are not located at the venue of the workshop.
“All participants are directed to report/register for the workshop on March 18 at 08:30 hrs at the venue/hotel, where it will be mandatory to remain available throughout the schedule of the workshop”, said an order conveyed to chairmen, managing directors, chief executives and chief financial and operating officers of various companies working under the Petroleum Division besides the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority.
Under a decision of the Federal Cabinet on Feb 22, the government has issued instructions for strict compliance to ensure austerity measures. One of the top instructions included that a “single dish in case of meals and tea & biscuits on other occasions shall be served in government events/meetings. This will be served at official premises only and not in hotels except in case of foreign delegation”.
However, the Petroleum Division’s workshop will be attended by all the public sector employees and would now be held at Whispering Pines Hotel & Residences, in Haripur District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The purpose of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders, corporations and companies working in the energy sector to develop a strategic roadmap for the entire value chain of the petroleum sector in Pakistan”, said the order also sent out to a couple of private sector companies.
To spread out the expenditure, all the executives have been asked to spend out of their respective entities’ accounts for air travel, logistic support and accommodation.
Petroleum Division spokesperson Captain (Rtd) Shahbaz confirmed a day earlier that the strategic roadmap development workshop will be a closed event by invitation to Petroleum Division’s organisations.
He declined to share the total expenditure saying there would be “bare minimum expenses”. Interestingly, some companies like OGDCL and others have vast conference halls within their buildings and have been holding international conferences on oil and gas.
The Petroleum Division said it would provide support to the participants regarding the reservation of accommodation at the venue from March 18-20. All participants have been asked to bring laptops or iPads along with portable internet devices for the workshop.
“Participation in the workshop is mandatory and no nomination will be accepted in place of the head of organisation” and the list of participants approved by the “competent authority”.
The Petroleum Division rolled out an 80-page Development Plan for Oil & Gas Sector for up to the year 2043 in 2020. Its implementation status is unknown. The objectives of the new proposed strategic roadmap also include an initiative to look for out-of-the-box solutions and innovative options to deal with challenges in providing affordable, secure and sustainable energy for better economic prospects of the country.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2023
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