Baloch chieftains’ help sought for security


ISLAMABAD – The central government has sought assistance from Balochistan in mustering local tribal chieftains’ support in providing adequate security to the state-owned Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) to help them continue unhindered exploration and production activities in the province.
A source said a delegation, led by Petroleum Secretary Imtiaz Kazi and including managing directors of the OGDCL, PPL and the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited and the Petroleum Concessions director general, was on a visit to Balochistan to seek support from the provincial government. The delegation was sent there for political support as the OGDCL had firmed up an aggressive exploration plan in the province where it anticipated big discoveries in three blocks, where it was operating.
The company moved in with the help of the law enforcement agencies, but the strategy seemed to have backfired as the number of attacks on the company’s employees and equipment had increased, the source said. The company sought the government’s help, which directed it to get support from the provincial government to continue their exploration activity in the provinces, the source said, adding that it was decided that other companies should be taken on board which were also facing similar threats.
The team would also hold talks on the granting of petroleum concessions agreement in future as after the 18th Amendment, the federal and provincial governments would jointly issue the licence and share the revenues. The source said the delegation met Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani on Saturday and highlighted the security issues concerning oil and gas sector in Balochistan.
The delegation also held talks with the Balochistan chief secretary.