ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Tuesday categorically rejected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s claim for not issuing a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to Hycarbex American Energy Inc to undertake oil and gas exploration work in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Addressing a press conference here, he said the PTI chairman’s claim had no reality that the federal government was not issuing NOC to gas companies which had identified six gas fields in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The minister said “The company representatives were called in at the DGPC office to discuss the issue claimed by the PIT chief. They have categorically stated that they have no complaints against the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources as no NOC is required or pending with the federal government,” he added.
He said the company was granted exploration license on June 4, 2010 over Peshawar block located in districts Peshawar, Orakzai, Nowshera, Kohat, Hangu and Khyber agency for an initial period of three years to make investment of 5.9 million dollars.
He said according to the article 3.2 (b), the Peshawar block petroleum concession agreement, the operator was bound to commence joint operation within 90 days, but the company did not initiate the work even after lapse of more than five years time period.
“The company had not discharged even a single work unit and they had requested an extension in the exploration license without any cogent reason, a 60 days notice was issued to the company on September 18, 2015,” he added.
In the meantime, he said management of the company changed pursuant to finalization of the award of arbitration proceedings outside Pakistan.
Keeping in view the said issue, the ministry was considering the company’s request for extension of the exploration license to fulfill their contractual obligations.
He said that despite the lapse of time, the government had not cancelled the license of the company due to dispute in its management. After solving of the disputes, the company was allowed to carry out its work, he added.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the company had failed to pay Rs 81 million financial obligations to the federal government for training, area rent and social welfare.
To a question he said that notices were issued to 21 exploration companies for not carrying out promised work in the petroleum sector, out of which 15 license were cancelled by the government till date for not following the singed agreement.
To another question, he said that despite repeated requests by the federal government, the KPK government failed to address Rs 8 billion gas theft issue.
He said gas allocated for power generation projects in KPK had not been utilized till date by the KPK government.
The minister said that Pakistan had signed the LNG import agreement with Qatar government on the cheapest rate as compared to India.
He said that work on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project would start soon.