Local firms holding 80% share in petroleum exploration: PHC told

Humayun Khan
PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) was informed that currently local companies hold more than 80% shares in petroleum exploration sector after departure of foreign companies due to security concerns, on Thursday.
This was disclosed by representative Ministry of Petroleum along with Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) during appearance on court’s order before divisional comprising of Chief Justice PHC Justice Qaiser Rashid and Justice Ijaz Anwar in case regarding reservoirs of gas and petroleum products.
During hearing counsel for petitioner Muzzam Butt, Additional Attorney General Amir Javeed, Additional Advocate General Syed Sikandar Shah, Assistant Attorney Ishfaq Daudzai, Mol’s lawyer Barrister Rokhan Nafees, Barrister Amir Ullah and OGDCL’s lawyer Sultan Mazhar Sher while Environmental Protection Agency’s Mumtaz Ali appeared before the court.
Chief Justice inquired regarding reservoirs and working situation from OGDCL’s lawyer while Sultan Mazhar Sher informed that digging on reservoir sites across Pakistan is continued. He added that OGDCL working on their own while special relaxation is provided to provincial companies like granting one block without bidding.
The OGDCL counsel further informed that one block comprising 2700 km2 and added that one block is providing for increasing revenue of the province. He added that like KP-OGDCL it is also provincial company which is partner with in exploration of gas reservoirs.
Additional Attorney General along with Ministry of Petroleum senior official informed that local companied holding more 80% shares in exploration after departure of foreign firms due to security concerns. They added that provision of security was very costly for foreign companies.
However, Chief Justice observed that court aims to promote indigenous companies because it will lead nation to independence in energy and economic prosperity. Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid added that experts and professional of every field is available in abundance at domestic level. While Barrister Rokhan Nafees informed that on previous hearing court has directed Mol company to establish water filtration and added that the filtration plant operational since 13th June. The counsel Sultan Mazhar Sher informed that OGDCL has submitted all report before PHC in this regard.
The counsel further added that several blocks are bidding process while OGDCL has also identified more blocks across Pakistan while working condition varies from block to block. He added that Ministry of Petroleum is performing the process of bidding and other related work while OGDCL has only with block obtained through bidding.
Moreover, EPA representative Mumtaz Ali argued that Mol company has controlled emission of poisonous gases while the company directed to produce further documents. He added that water is polluted in nearby areas of petroleum exploration regions.
EPA representative PHC to direct Public Health Engineering Department to identify that water is polluted by petroleum exploration or it was contaminated naturally. The divisional bench of PHC has ordered Chief Engineer Public Health Engineering to collect water sample from areas and share its report with EPA for action while adjourned further hearing till date be fix.