Gas worth Rs20b being stolen: PAC

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From International Desk - Special Reports

LAHORE National Assembly Public Account Committee s Sub-committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources on Thursday expressed serious concern over the performance of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited when it was informed that the company was suffering a loss of Rs 20 billion every year due gas theft.

It is not possible to steal gas without the support of the SNGPL s staff, Convener of Committee Ms Yasmeen Rehman said while chairing the meeting of PAC s Sub-committee at SNGPL Head Office.

She asked SNGPL Managing Director Arif Hameed to provide the list of defaulters and people involved in the gas theft before the PAC in its next meeting and said that the list would be made public. MNAs Saeed Ahmad Zafar, Hamid Yar Hiraj and officials of the Audit Department and the SNGPL attended the meeting. The Committee discussed the paras of the audit reports from 2004 to 2008.

This was revealed during the meeting that the main issues which the SNGPL was facing was unaccounted for gas (UFG) ratio absence of law to control the gas theft or to strictly deal with the people involved in pilferage. The SNGPL Managing Director, when asked whether some parliamentarians were also defaulters of the company, admitted their involvement and said that the company was completing the list of the defaulters and people involved in gas theft which would be provided to the PAC. The committee also directed to take strict action against defaulters and gas thieves and for making public list of defaulters. The people should know the names of the people that are costing economy billions, no matter how influential they were, the members recommended. The members were also unanimous in a view that the gas pilferage was not possible without the connivance of the SNGPL s staff.

It was disclosed that some 8,000 cases regarding the issues of theft and default were pending in the courts or in arbitrations process with the SNGPL. On that, the PAC directed the SNGPL management to expedite the process related to the issues and also urged the government to speed up the process of formation of law against gas theft.

The main problem faced by SNGPL is gas pilferage and there exists no proper law in the country which deals with gas theft, the PAC observed.

The meeting was told that Rs 7 billion were required for the completion of 3,200 ongoing gas development schemes of the SNGPL. The Committee also proposed that there should be no more gas connections in the country unless the pervious schemes were completed and also felt the need for clear cut policy regarding the import and use of LPG and LNG for bridging the demand and supply gap.

MD SNGPL, on the occasion, informed the members about the recovery from the defaulters, saying that the company had recovered Rs 9. 7 billion till June 30, 2011 out of the total recoverable amount of Rs 30 billion. The MD was of the view that the gas theft ratio was too low as compared to the company s network. Arif Hameed also avoided to name the persons involved in the theft, however, said that the SNGPL had disconnected the connections of the various people involved in theft. The company recently disconnected the gas of those industries which were defaulters of Rs 470 million, he added. In order to control gas theft in the CNG stations, he said they had installed 600 electronic GPRS meters and 1700 more meters would be installed till next month. Ministry of Petroleum was working on the gas theft bill which would be presented before the parliament soon, he told the members.

Courtesy: Nation

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