Earlier, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) was tasked with setting up the LNG terminal and a tender was floated. But the successful bidder submitted fake bank documents, which prompted the SSGC board of directors to scrap the tender.
GHPL, registered as a private limited company on January 15, 2000 under the Companies Ordinance 1984, was established in order to separate regulatory and commercial functions and efficiently manage the government’s interest in petroleum exploration and production joint ventures. Previously, the government’s interest was taken care of by the directorate general of petroleum concession.
According to officials aware of the development, two top officials of the GHPL board have resigned following protests that the company has no authority to deal with affairs pertaining to the LNG terminal. GHPL has been assisting energy firms over the years in the exploration of hydrocarbon resources in the country.
Historically, gas utilities – Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) – have been dealing with issues relating to the building of LNG terminals. Particularly, SSGC has experience of working on LNG terminal projects as all past tenders, except for the present terminal contract, were floated by the public utility.
However, the current government wants to engage GHPL in the terminal contract, which has upset most of the board members as they are not keen on getting involved in the process.
Officials point out that another reason was the initiation of an investigation by the National Accountability Bureau into the award of the first LNG terminal contract to Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited.
As the GHPL board members have stepped down, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources is finding itself in trouble as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given his approval to the second LNG terminal contract. According to officials, there were reports of procedural lapses in the first project which the petroleum minister had himself admitted.
The GHPL board is chaired by Petroleum Secretary Arshad Mirza, who is now trying to persuade the board members to take part in the process of implementing the second terminal project.
Despite repeated attempts, Mirza did not respond to requests for comments on the development.