Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Monday, directed the local oil and gas companies to accelerate their exploration process, and the Petroleum Ministry to extend all facilities to foreign companies.
Chairing a meeting to discuss the issues related to the petroleum sector, he ordered minimizing the time limit for the approval process, and discourage unnecessary delays and involvement of red tape.
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Iftikhar Durrani, Secretary Petroleum and other senior officers of the Petroleum Division.
The Prime Minister also instructed to digitize the whole process, besides defining a timeline for approval of all the cases. He said the role of the ministry should be reduced to just monitoring.
He gave a go-ahead for the creation of a dedicated security force for petroleum exploration on the pattern of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) security force.
The Prime Minister told the meeting that the companies related to the oil and gas sector would be provided full security and decided to create a special force for this purpose.
The meeting also decided to hold roadshows abroad to lure the foreign companies to explore oil and gas reserves in Pakistan.
A threadbare discussion was also held on the establishment of a Frontier Zone for oil and gas exploration, and supply of gas to the companies at an attractive price.
The Prime Minister directed the concerned authorities to furnish new regulations concerning oil and gas before the Council of Common Interests for finalization.
The meeting also reviewed the respective strategies being pursued by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd and Sui Southern Gas Company to curb theft and wastage of gas.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan had been blessed with considerable reserves of oil and gas, and its needs could be fulfilled to a great extent through their exploration and exploitation.
Unfortunately, he said, the import of costly oil and gas was preferred to the exploration of local reserves in the past, which not only negatively impacted the industrial consumers but also made the masses bear the burden of inflation.