ECC wants LNG imports to be tendered again


ISLAMABAD – Deferring the decision on the import of reconditioned vehicles, the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet (ECC) on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Petroleum to re-invite tenders for the short-term import of 2.75 million tons of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and also in principle decided to allow import of urea.
An official source said that the decision was made after the Ministry of Law again refused to approve the tender finalized by the Ministry of Petroleum, terming it a violation of Supreme Court decision. The Petroleum Ministry had thrice approached the ECC, seeking approval of the finalised tender of GDF Suez for the short term import of 2.75 million tons of LNG for 6 years, but the law ministry opposed the move and suggested inviting fresh bids to avoid any controversy.
The source said, the committee decided to defer the summary on the age limit of imported cars. In December, last year, ECC enhanced the age limit of imported cars from 3 to 5-years old but the PM intervened after 20 days and asked the committee to reconsider its decision. However, it has been learnt that the decision regarding the changes in import of reconditioned vehicles was taken under pressure from the local vehicle assemblers and this is likely to be again put on the back burner.
Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafez Shaikh chaired the ECC meeting. The committee delibrated on the summary of the Ministry of Industries seeking immediate restoration of feed stock gas supplies for 30 days to the fertilizer industry to avert urea shortage during the current Rabi season. The minister directed the Ministerial Committee on Fertilizers to come up with recommendations on restoring feedstock gas supplies and urea imports within next two days.
The committee will ascertain available urea stocks, gas supplies for fertilizer companies, financial implications on importing 250,000 tons of urea and assurance from the Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) for the delivery before February 15. The meeting was informed that the Trading Corporation of Pakistan had stocks of 55,000 tons of urea but it was allocated for distribution among the flood affectees.
The minister asked the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Agricualture Kamal Majeedullah to talk to the government of Sindh so that the stock could be utilized for all the farmers, and the next production would be given to the province. The meeting decided to allocate gas from OGDCL’s dormant fields to the government of Sindh. The decision was made in light of 18th Amendment, under which mineral and natural resources fall under the provincial jurisdiction.
The gas from Nur Bagla, Jakhro and Sara West fields would be allocated to Sindh government or its designated entity. This would be subject to the terms and conditions that OGDCL will be paid the dues of petroleum concession agreement, policy price for gas as well as for LPG and condensate, product disposal by the buyer, in accordance with the prevalent rules and regultioons and all applicable taxes.
The committee was apprised that this year the country’s exports might touch the highest mark of $20 billion and remittances would reach $10 billion. These would be record exports and remittance in any financial year in the history of Pakistan.