Sep 282018
SC orders transparent NAB inquiry into LNG contracts, PSO affairs

The Supreme Court on Friday while hearing a case regarding an increase in oil and gas prices ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to conduct an independent and neutral inquiry into the matter. The court ordered the board of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to submit a report on LNG contracts within 10 days and explain whether there was transparency in the agreements with Qatar. The court also ordered a report to be submitted on whether postings within PSO were made on the basis of merit or not. The court maintained that ‘favoured’ persons were posted in PSO and received hefty salaries while the country was looted of its wealth. The CJP enquired why the MD of PSO had received such a high salary and asked, “Was he Aristotle?” The top judge said that the former managing director (MD) of PSO received a salary of Rs2.1 million to which Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan added that he wasn’t the only one at PSO who was receiving a high salary. He said that the general manager (GM) of PSO received Rs1.4m, the GM for HR received Rs1.3m and the GM for Fuel received Rs1.3m. Justice Nisar said that all of them should be summoned to court and that details of expensive cars owned by PSO should also be provided. The SC expressed displeasure at the hiring of a private lawyer for the former MD of PSO. The CJP asked the lawyer how much his salary was to which the lawyer responded that he [Read More…]

Nov 192017
PM inaugurates 2nd LNG gas terminal at Port Qasim

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the government is committed to resolve the issue of energy shortage and has successfully reduced the gap between demand and supply both in the electricity and natural gas. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the second Liquefied Natural Gas terminal at the Port Qasim, the Prime Minister said work was going on several power projects to overcome the challenge in shortest possible time. The terminal has been completed in a short time at a cost of fifty billion rupees. He said there was a huge potential for investment in the LNG sector as the country has a huge market for natural gas. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the LNG was the cheapest fuel available in the country and would adequately meet the requirements of the commercial, industrial, domestic and the CNG sectors. He said the challenge of power shortages has been addressed with the import of the LNG and more LNG terminals will be set up in future. He said a coal based power plant of one thousand three hundred megawatt is under-construction while more plants are also in pipeline. The Prime Minister said that three gas based power plants will soon be initiated in the country. He said government has successfully completed all the projects that we had started and completion of second LNG terminal in a short time is also a proof. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the industry is growing with five point three percent of GDP which is expected to rise to six [Read More…]

Oct 112017
PTI criticises PMon LNG deal but spares then petroleum secretary

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Sheikh Rashid have criticized Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, accusing him of pocketing millions of dollars in the LNG deal with Qatar, but they… [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Aug 092017

ISLAMABAD: Family links to Pakistan’s powerful military and a cabinet stint championing the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will probably help new prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi navigate thorny relations with the army and curb rolling blackouts. How Abbasi, the co-founder of a budget airline (Air Blue) and a skydiving fan, tackles those two issues may define his tenure as he seeks to tilt the next general election, due in mid-2018, toward Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). PM Abbasi, army chief meet amid apparent strain in civil-military ties Ousted leader Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court last month and within days had installed Abbasi as a temporary prime minister. Nawaz then had a change of heart about plans to elevate his brother as long-term leader. With Abbasi, 58, now likely to stay on until the election, the opposition is training its cross hairs on him while voters seek clues as to what he can accomplish in less than a year as the leader of a nuclear-armed nation of 190 million. U.S-educated Abbasi has been frank about Nawaz’s role as the power behind the throne but those close to him expect a slightly different approach to the army. “He is going to repair the relationship and have a better communication channel to the army than Nawaz,” said a senior PML-N official. “Shahid is very pragmatic and aware that the army is there, and you can’t just wish them away.” Nawaz has endured fraught relations with the military during his three stints in power [Read More…]

Apr 032017
No power

Despite the government’s claims, the energy crisis will not be resolved by 2018. According to some media reports, the State of Industry Report 2016 of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) says that electricity loadshedding would persist in 2018. The report further states that although it may be possible to generate enough power by 2018, the distribution companies would not be able to supply it to the consumers because of inadequate transmission network and other constraints. On the other hand, a report by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) projects that gas loadshedding will continue until 2030, in spite of the import of LNG from Qatar and the completion of projects like Iran-Pakistan (IP) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline projects. One wonders what the present government, with its myopic vision and flawed planning, has so far achieved in reality to address the energy crisis that was once its top priority. Hussain Siddiqui Islamabad

Jan 142017
Gas shortage

Earlier in the year 2016, Pakistan signed a LNG supply agreement with Qatar. The Ministry of Petroleum then claimed that the problem of gas shortage will be solved soon. Almost a year has been passed since the deal, but nothing has changed. In Punjab, winters and gas shortage arrived simultaneously. The people are facing a lot of difficulties in carrying out their daily routine. Cooking daily meals has become a nuisance in households. In the cold weather, gas heaters cannot be turned on owing to gas shortage. Apart from making claims of putting an end to gas shortage, the government promised to deal with the country’s energy crisis as well. One wonders how it will be able to fulfil its promise when it is continuously failing to do something about gas shortage. It is unfortunate that these problems are still deeply rooted in the country. For dealing with gas shortage, a few CNG stations were closed down but that too couldn’t leave any positive impact. Zaheer Ahmed Islamabad

Dec 092016

ISLAMABAD: The government has planned to relax rules governing public procurement and the bidding process in a bid to award multibillion-rupee contracts without facing obstacles, say officials. Earlier, the government has drawn flak for violating public procurement rules in the award of lucrative contracts. For instance, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal-building contract given to the Engro group by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) sparked scathing criticism of the government, which was forced to float a tender. The cabinet, in its meeting held on November 23, considered a proposal for amending the public procurement rules of 2004. It reviewed a summary submitted by the Cabinet Division for amendments and constituted a committee to make changes to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Ordinance 2002 and PPRA Rules 2004. The committee will be headed by Water and Power Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and comprise Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, States and Frontier Regions Minister Lieutenant General (Retired) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood. The cabinet was informed that consultations had not been held with public-sector organisations that made big procurements and it would be appropriate to address their concerns while amending the PPRA ordinance and rules. Section 26 of the PPRA Ordinance 2002 gives powers to the federal government to make rules for meeting purposes of the ordinance. The PPRA board, in its meeting held on October 19, 2016 had also decided to introduce certain amendments to rules 12, 42 and 45 of [Read More…]