ISLAMABAD: The Permanent Committee on Energy of the National Assembly decided on Friday to call officials from the departments concerned to solve the problem of security clearance and remove restrictions on oil and gas exploration in Khuzdar.
Dr. Imran Khattak, chairman of the commission, noted that the parliamentary panel should play an important role in the development of oil and gas in the country, especially in Balochistan.
The matter was discussed by Sardar Akhtar Mengal, president of the Balochistan National Party, who criticized the authorities concerned for not giving security authorization for oil and gas exploration in Khuzdar.
Mengal asked senior OGDCL officials who attended the committee meeting to explain the reasons for the delay in oil and gas exploration in Khuzdar.
"There was a meeting in 2014 and the OGDCL started working, but everything is stopped now," Mengal said.
Akhtar Mengal regrets that the work has remained since 2014
In response, Dr. Saeed Jadoon, executive director of exploration at OGDCL, said the meeting was held by senior OGDCL officials and was chaired by Mr. Mengal himself at that time.
"We had marked the well and completed our initial work, but there must be a security authorization from the Frontier Corps as it was responsible for maintaining law and order in most areas of Balochistan and a NOC from the provincial government is also required." . Dr. Jadoon said.
"The other two stakeholders are locals who are cooperating and we, the company, are ready to begin road construction in a week after the security clearance is received," he said.
Mengal informed the committee that an agreement was reached with the OGDCL and a similar agreement was also reached in Jhal Magsi, with the OGDCL, where it was agreed that the premises would provide security to the company's workers.
The committee decided to convene officials from the departments concerned to resolve the issue of security clearance.
PTI MNA Shahid Ahmed Khan strongly criticized the KP government at the meeting and said the provincial government was not giving the corresponding share of royalties to the districts that were producing oil and gas.
"We are facing environmental pollution and problems related to the depletion of water resources, but the provincial government is spending money on royalties in other areas," Khan said.
The committee also discussed the non-payment of electricity bills in Balochistan.
Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan said that alternative and renewable sources of energy were the way forward for the country.
"The project of solar-based tubular wells in Balochistan was underway and many problems will be resolved and we hope that the payment of electricity charges will also improve," said the minister.
He reiterated that the issue of the excavation of new oil and gas wells in Balochistan would be resolved amicably. He said that local gas production had shrunk in the country and that the import of LNG would help reduce the gap.
Published on Dawn, October 19, 2019