ISLAMABAD, Jul 1 (APP): Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Friday said the government was committed to exploiting indigenous hydrocarbon resources for achieving self-reliance in the energy sector.
Addressing a news conference here, he said a plan was being worked out to provide incentives to both local and foreign exploration and production (E&P) companies to step up drilling activities in potential areas across the country. “An effective package of incentives will be offered to them (companies).”
He said the country’s existing gas deposits were facing depletion at the rate of 10 per cent annually for the last five to six years. Making new discoveries, and extracting oil and gas with modern machinery was the need of the hour.
Dr Musadik said the government was also working on an effective plan to introduce a deregulation policy so as to ensure an environment of competition, besides providing a level-playing field for everyone.
“There will be no monopoly of anyone,” he said, adding the government would extend maximum facilities, under the ease-of-doing-business strategy, to those who wanted to do business in the oil and gas sector.
Commenting on the prevailing energy situation, the minister said the prime minister had constituted a commission that would look into the reasons behind the existing energy crisis and subsequent deterioration of the national economy.
The terms of reference (TORs) for the commission, he said, would be finalized in 7-8 days. Its findings would help fix the responsibility and pave the way for taking corrective measures to avoid such hardships in future, he added.
Dr Musadik said it was unfortunate that the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had set ‘time bombs’ before facing the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan. It did not make arrangements to import Liquefied Natural Gas at available reduced rates, stopped maximum projects that the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had initiated for power generation.
Before being ousted from the government, the PTI gave powers to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to determine gas price, and “with this, now the present government has no power to review the gas price,” he added.
The minister said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also formed a ‘Group’, under PML-N’s senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, to facilitate and encourage the installation of solar panels at every level, including public and private sector buildings for tackling the shortage of electricity.
Under the initiative, he said, the general public, private sector and government companies/offices would be able to generate own electricity through solar panels for their use, while additional units could be transmitted to the national grid for earning a reasonable amount. “Hopefully, around 4000-5000 MW electricity will be generated under this initiative.”