KARACHI: Engro’s Floating Storage Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) Exquisite has left for Qatar to refill on Saturday and would make four refilling rounds till June 23, 2015.

Sources in Pakistan Customs said that the delay in vessel’s departure was due to some technical reason and there were no duty issues. The source said Customs duty at the rate of 5.0 percent was applicable on this vessel, which would be collected once it was berthed permanently. As for now, it is a carrier, hence no duty.

Engro would charge government in addition to the agreed tariff for its transportation operations.  Sources said the fee to be charged by Engro for Exquisite’s refilling entourage would be higher than the regular charges for similar transportation.

Sources said the vessel had left for second refill and would make more such rounds if required as FSRU is a multi-purpose unit and also used as carrier all over the world. It is a good thing that it can transport the commodity by itself instead of staying idle.

Meanwhile, original owners of the FSRU — Excelerate Energy — issued a statement raising objections over movement of the floating unit on the ground that it was meant to be berthed for entire 15-year contract period and could not be allowed to be used as an LNG carrier.

The injection of re-gasified LNG into the national transmission system had come to an end on April 14, 2015 and government is liable to pay $0.272 million as capacity charges to Engro since then. Government is to pay over $1.0 million for the period in which Engro did not incur any variable costs.

It may be mentioned that Pakistan State Oil (PSO) paid Rs581 million to the Customs authorities on first LNG import as 17 percent sales tax was imposed on the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet.

The import of LNG in Pakistan is faced with one controversy after another primarily because of vague and contradictory information disseminated by all concerned quarters including Engro.

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