Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has labelled as corrupt the political leaders that criticise the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and said he received big offers from the oil mafia for giving up gas import.
“Those big leaders who are alleging corruption in LNG imports are themselves corrupt,” Abbasi said at a press conference here on Thursday. This was his third comprehensive talk with media on the LNG subject in the last few days.
“There may have been lapses and mistakes in the LNG project, but the industry knows the government is not corrupt,” he said.
He categorically declared that they followed rules and any institution including the National Accountability Bureau could receive the record for investigation. “I have been involved in the entire process from the construction of an LNG terminal and its import and take all responsibility.”
Read: OGRA close to determining LNG price
He said six cargoes were imported from Qatar, which were consumed by power, fertiliser and CNG sectors, adding LNG import was open for all sectors and the government did not want to involve in the process. “We have demand from the industry and housing societies for LNG consumption.”
He said the government was working on LNG-based power plants and electricity outages would come to an end in 2017.
Abbasi claimed that oil mafia had given big offers to persuade him to give up LNG imports. “I think such big offers might have been a hurdle to bringing LNG in the past.”
He pointed out that off-spec diesel, petrol and furnace oil were being consumed in Pakistan and, therefore, suppliers had margins on oil products, adding the country would save Rs200 billion per annum if all thermal plants were replaced with LNG.
He stressed that negotiations with Qatar were under way for LNG supply and a deal would be clinched at the best price in Asia.
Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has imported LNG at $7.5 to $7.7 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) whereas Japan has purchased LNG at $8 per mmbtu. Abbasi revealed that suppliers had quoted LNG at 11.2% to 17% of Brent crude price, but the gas was imported at a price below the 14% benchmark set by the government. “According to Nepra’s tariff, the electricity generated through LNG was cheaper by Rs6.5 per unit compared to that produced by diesel.”
Discussing the Nandipur power project, the minister said the matter had been handed over to the Auditor General of Pakistan who would conduct an audit and reveal facts to the people. The government is setting up power plants having a cumulative capacity of 1,000 megawatts on a fast track and they will start running in June next year.
Read: Fuel choice: Nawaz reviews progress on LNG power plants
Abbasi announced that investigations into the petrol crisis had been completed and reports would be submitted to the prime minister for a decision.
“We have initiated transmission line projects at a cost of $1.5 billion for transporting gas,” he said, adding a swap arrangement between Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company would end next month after the upgrading of pipelines.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2015.
Like Business on Facebook, follow @TribuneBiz on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ