Tag Archives: petroleum

Fight against Eco Terrorism

Family awarded $3 million in first US fracking trial

After three years of legal wrangling, a Texas family has won its case against a company engaged in hydraulic fracturing near their home. The family, which suffered tangible health deterioration after the fracking began, was awarded $3 million.

A Dallas jury ruled Tuesday in favor of the Parr family, which sued Aruba Petroleum in 2011 after each member of the family noticed a decline in health that, their attorneys argued in court, was the result of dozens of gas wells surrounding their home in Wise County, Texas. The family was awarded nearly $3 million in what is believed to be the first fracking trial in US history.

Read more » http://rt.com/usa/154408-fracking-trial-family-sued/

Pakistan’s exports to India rise 27%

By India Blooms News Service

Delivering a key-note address at the two-day annual conference on ‘Normalising India-Pakistan trade’ being organised by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) here, Bansal said: “Consequent to the trade liberalisation measures, bilateral trade between the two countries increased from US$ 0.6 billion in 2004-05 to US$ 1.9 billion in 2011-12.”

“Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, Pakistan’s exports to India rose by 27% from US$ 333 million to US$ 422 million. Further, Pakistan’s exports to India during April 2012 to January 2013 registered a 50% increase over the same period in the previous year – to US$ 475 million from US$ 320 million,” he said.

The important items imported from Pakistan include dates, cement, woven cotton fabrics, petroleum oil, organic chemicals, and plastics.

Bansal said: “We are very happy to note that Pakistan’s market access to India has improved considerably- indicating that there are no non-tariff barriers. India has also reduced its sensitive list by 30%.

“There should not, however, be any room for complacency- we will have to continue to take trade facilitating measures that will increase imports from Pakistan to much greater heights.”

Bansal said as India and Pakistan move towards normalizing their bilateral trading regimes, there will be new trading opportunities for both countries.

“There is a large untapped trade potential between the two countries, and various estimates suggest that potential trade could vary between 0.5 to 20 times of actual trade.

“A large part of this has been taking place through informal channels – largely through third countries- and goes unaccounted for. But I am sure that as both countries move towards normal trade relations, with the removal of the trade barriers and the subsequent reduction of trade costs, a significant part of informal trade will shift to formal trade channels,” he said.

Continue reading Pakistan’s exports to India rise 27%

The New Great Game: Afpak, blood, & oil in central Asia

The New Great Game

The New Great Game is a term used to describe the conceptualization of modern geopolitics in Central Eurasia as a competition between the United States, the United Kingdom and other NATO countries against Russia, the People’s Republic of China and other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries for “influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus“. It is a reference to “The Great Game“, the political rivalry between the British and Russian Empires in Central Asia during the 19th century.

Many authors and analysts view this new “game” as centering around regional petroleum politics. Now, instead of competing for actual control over a geographic area, “pipelines, tanker routes, petroleum consortiums, and contracts are the prizes of the new Great Game”.The term has become prevalent throughout the literature about the region, appearing in book titles, academic journals, news articles, and government reports.[3] Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid claims he coined the term in a self-described “seminal” magazine article published in 1997, however uses of the term can be found prior to the publication of his article.

In a leaked US Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks, it was reported that Prince Andrew, Duke of York, supports the concept of a New Great Game:

Addressing the Ambassador directly, Prince Andrew then turned to regional politics. He stated baldly that “the United Kingdom, Western Europe (and by extension you Americans too”) were now back in the thick of playing the Great Game. More animated than ever, he stated cockily: “And this time we aim to win!

Courtesy: wikipedia

Pakistan Corruption Report

Rs. 83 Billion loss caused to exchequer, says NAB

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has submitted to the Justice Bhagwandas Commission a report on the wrongdoings it says have been committed by the government functionaries and oil industry people in the pricing of petroleum products causing a loss of Rs83 billion to the nation over a period of five years.

The Supreme Court constituted a few months ago the high-level commission led by former SC judge Justice Rana Bhagwandas to hold a probe into the fixing of oil prices and to suggest measures to plug loopholes in the pricing mechanism to ensure fair prices of petroleum products to consumers.

The apex court had taken serious notice of the petroleum ministry’s non-cooperation and instructed the government to provide all information to the commission so that it might reach a judgment.

The NAB report that covered petroleum pricing mechanism between June 2001 and June 2006 was originally submitted to the then president Gen Pervez Musharraf and prime minister Shaukat Aziz on June 13, 2006 by the then NAB chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz.

The report was never made public but the NAB chairman was removed unceremoniously shortly after it was submitted to the presidency and the prime minister.

The NAB report has now been provided to the Justice Bhagwandas Commission which is expected to submit its final report to the apex court by June 30.

According to a former deputy chairman of NAB, Maj-Gen Muhammad Siddique, senior management of “Pakistan State Oil Company Limited (PSO) and others are involved in massive misappropriation/misuse of authority and forgery in the import of HSD (high speed diesel) and its subsequent sale in the country and … committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices” as defined in relevant laws.

The report prepared by a three-member investigation team and exclusively available with Dawn concluded that “it is sufficiently evident that (functionaries in the) ministry of petroleum in collusion with the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC), oil industry and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have engaged themselves in corrupt practices for generating colossal undue financial gains for refineries and OMCs at the cost of public and economy as a whole”.

It said the federal cabinet in June 2001 entrusted the role of oil price fixation to OCAC under monitoring by the director-general of oil but none of the directors-general performed the task of monitoring and some of them even expressed ignorance about the cabinet decision. The entire price fixation by OCAC “remained non-transparent/dubious and the DG Oil/Ministry did not play any role, violating the cabinet decision”.

As a result of faulty policies, the profits of Shell Pakistan, Caltex and PSO increased by 232 per cent, 281 per cent and 252 per cent between 2001 and 2004-05. Likewise, the profits of Attock Refinery, National Refinery, Pak Refinery and Parco jumped by 4331 per cent, 3578 per cent, 1717 per cent and 597 per cent, respectively, between 2001-02 and 2004-05.

The report said that a loss of over Rs11 billion was caused to the exchequer because of a redundant oil pricing formula for petrol (motor spirit) while another Rs34 billion loss was caused due to wrongful addition of premiums on the import parity prices of petrol and high speed diesel between July 2001 and April 2006.

Likewise, the report pointed out that the petroleum ministry failed to cap the distribution margins of the OMCs and dealers when the petroleum prices touched the roof and provided a benefit of Rs9 billion to the OMCs and dealers between December 2004 and May 2006.

“The ministry despite having assured the ECC in the summary of capping the margins, failed to cap OMCs’/dealers’ margins resulting in their exorbitant profit margins,” the report said.

It calculated a financial impact of more than Rs18 billion that was `erroneously’ earned by the oil marketing companies and dealers in five years because the OCAC charged commissions even on government taxes, particularly on 15 per cent GST, that was clearly in violation of laws.

The report said that a loss of another Rs6 billion was caused to the government by “illegal removal of 40 per cent upper cap of profits” to the refineries, making a total loss of Rs82.90 billion.

It said under the federal cabinet decision, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) was established in March 2002, requiring the government to immediately transfer monitoring and regulatory function of petroleum prices to Ogra. However, the transfer of regulatory role to Ogra “was delayed by the ministry for more than four years. The gas regulation and licensing function were transferred to Ogra, but POL pricing was withheld for four years”.

Similarly, “the deemed duty in the guise of tariff protection was allowed to refineries without seeking specific legal approval/issuance of SRO”. —By special arrangement.

June 25, 2009

Courtesy: Dawn, ISLAMABAD, & Pakistan Corruption Reporter

Source- http://corruption-reporter.blogspot.com/2009/06/rs-83-billion-loss-caused-to-exchequer.html