OGDC board recommends controversial candidates

Published: October 31, 2018
Proposed officials are service providers, while criteria is to select from E&P sector. PHOTO: FILE

Proposed officials are service providers, while criteria is to select from E&P sector. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The board of directors of Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDC) has reportedly made controversial recommendations to appoint new managing director of the country’s largest state run oil and gas explorer.

Officials told The Express Tribune that the company’s board had been formed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and it was still looking towards vested interests. The board has initiated the process for appointment of the new managing director and recommended names of officials who were working in contracting companies of OGDC.  This was against the criteria of appointing a managing director as the candidate for the proposed post should be from an exploration company.

The board had previously begun the process for appointment and had suggested the same names which it recommended now. The board once again chose Shehryar Lodhi and Nadeem Bajwa in the panel of recommended candidates at serial 1 and 2, respectively. Lodhi is an employee of Schlumber and involved in securing multimillion dollar contracts from OGDC in the past. On the other hand, Bajwa is an employee of Weatherford and like Lodhi had commercial interests with the company.

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Previous recommendations sent by the board in the past three years demonstrate the board’s preference for service providers instead of from the E&P industry. The board’s inclination highlights the strong lobby and influence that the service providers hold within the board.

Zahid Mir, who is currently the acting managing director, is at the serial three of the list. Mir has been working as managing director since 2015 and is the only candidate on the panel who is from the E&P sector. Officials in the Petroleum Division revealed that the OGDC board will soon be revamped and new directors with experience and professional standing would be appointed. The ministry feels that the present board has political appointees with vested interests.

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Ironically, the managing director will be appointed by the present board and the new board, whenever appointed, will have no role in this process unless the government acts responsibly and restructures the board sooner than later.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2018.

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