–Anti-graft watchdog also expected to submit its report in irregular OGRA appointments probe
ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is likely to present its inquiry report on Pakistan’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contracts with Qatar and the irregular appointments in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), made during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, to the Supreme Court on the next hearing, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, NAB has scrutinised several documents and interrogated different persons concerned. After finding sufficient evidence during the inquiry, the bureau is expected to conduct an investigation into the Pak-Qatar LNG deal to dig out facts and reach a logical conclusion.
It is worth mentioning here that SC had ordered NAB to conduct an independent inquiry into the Pak-Qatar LNG contracts by the end of September 2018. The orders were issued by the top court when a bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar heard a case regarding an increase in oil and gas prices.
Similarly, the petroleum division had also asked NAB to launch an inquiry into the matter.
Sources had informed this scribe that initial scrutiny of the LNG supply deal between Qatar and Pakistan was initiated by the incumbent minister for petroleum division Ghulam Sarwar Khan after “worrying” terms and conditions of the agreement signed by the previous government were discovered.
SALE AND PURCHASE AGREEMENT WITH QATAR:
A copy of the long-term LNG sale and purchase agreement between Qatar Liquefied Gas Company Limited and Pakistan State Oil (PSO), dated February 8, 2018, available with Pakistan Today, disclosed that Pakistan will have to purchase 3.75 million metric ton of LNG every year till 31 December 2031, starting from 2017.
Qatargas will supply 3.75 MMtpy of LNG to PSO for a period of 15 years. Similarly, a price review is permitted 10 years after the start of supply and a cancellation option could shorten the deal to 11 years if the parties fail to agree on a new price. Likewise, if said two parties fail to agree on the new price of LNG in six months period, then said LNG supply deal will end only after ten years just five years prior to the date of expiry of the LNG deal.
It was also learnt from a 15-year LNG supply deal that the agreement has laid down no uniform price for LNG consignments to be shipped from Qatar to Pakistan. The prices will vary for different consignments and are to be specified through a confirmation notice.
According to the deal, LNG arriving in any particular month will fetch 13.37 per cent of the preceding three-month average price of a barrel of Brent crude oil.
Surprisingly, this agreement is similar to spot purchasing instead of a state-to-state deal. The deal will become ineffective in case of a war that lasts 30 days, floods, civil disobedience or natural calamity faced by either country.
Pakistan shall make payment for LNG before the tenth day after completion of the loading process.
If either party fails to pay an amount due under any invoice, default interest shall be paid at a rate of two per cent per annum above the base interest rate.
The contract price (in US$/MMBTU) of LNG sold and purchased under this agreement shall be the price specified in or determined in accordance with the confirmation notice.
Any disputes, controversy or claim arising out of or in relation to the deal, or the breach, which cannot be resolved by discussion in good faith between the parties within 60 days of the party giving notice of such disputes shall be settled by arbitration under the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Rules of arbitration in force on the date of the dispute.
It is worth mentioning that the 15-year LNG supply deal between Qatar and Pakistan will be effective till 31 December 2031. And, if both Qatar and Pakistan will want to extend the deal then both parties interest will have to confirm till 29 December 2029 to settle the affairs. Pakistan is asked to keep secret the details of Qatar-Pakistan LNG supply agreement and permission from Qatar will necessarily be solicited in advance prior to make public the said LNG supply agreement.