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The energy and power department to execute a federal government-funded Rs2 billion project for the establishment of the Institute of Petroleum Technology in Karak district even two years after its approval.

The centre has repeatedly asked the province to buy the land and appoint the project director, but to no avail, officials told Dawn.

They said the federal government would provide Rs2 billion for putting up the institute under the Public Sector Development Programme, while the provincial government would offer land and execute the project.

Officials said the federal government had formally asked the provincial government many times to initiate work on the establishment of the much-needed petroleum technology institute in the oil and gas rich Karak.

They said the three-year project was approved in July 2018 and it was to be completed in July 2020 but the deadline was unlikely to be met for being just nine months away.

Officials say centre asked province to buy land, appoint project director many times but to no avail

The officials said despite the passage of over two years after the project approval, the energy and power department had neither completed the process of land acquisition nor appointed the project director for it.

They said though work on the building was unlikely to begin in near future, the construction would take at least two years to complete.

The officials said initially, no one in the energy and power department understood the project, which led to an inordinate delay in its execution.

According to the official documents, the institute will have two main components, including diploma training institute with allied labs and workshops and short courses for skill development.

The institute will provide three years diploma technical education in drilling technology, petroleum (production and processing) technology, electrical and instrument technology and mechanical technology.

Besides, the consultant will also recommend any discipline other than mentioned above falling in the purview of energy, oil and gas sector.

The institute will provide vocational training to matriculates and under matriculates to learn through dedicated short-term courses from three to six months and dedicated training relevant to the industry to the young engineers, technicians and operators.

Adviser to the chief minister on energy and power Hidayatullah Khan was not available for comments.

An official of the energy and power department told Dawn that the project had been ‘slightly on the track as the possession of land for the building is at a mature stage’.

He said the district administration had acquired land for which the energy and power department had released Rs30 million, while the remaining Rs20 million would be released soon.

The official said the district administration had not awarded possession of the land to the energy and power department.

He also said the appointment of consultant for designing modules, courses and curriculum with allied labs and equipment and human resources was also ‘in process’.

The official said the shortlisted consultants would soon be called for interview.

The oil and gas exploration and production in southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of the country are contributing to higher industrial and economic activities, which require skilled workforce for its operation and maintenance.

According to the concept note of the project, several other energy projects are under plan all over the country in near future such as new refinery by Aramco in Gwadar at the cost of $10 billion, capacity augmentation of Pakistan Refinery Limited, four additional LNG terminals, and major augmentation of LNG transmission network etc.

Also, many areas of KP fall in the main energy corridor planned from Central Asia to Pakistan including Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-india pipeline, which once completed will require a skilled workforce for its operation and maintenance.

In this connection, there will be enormous demand for the skilled workforce including engineers, technicians and operators which will be trained in the Institute of Petroleum Technology, Karak.