August 24, 2019 / 1:56 PM / 4 months ago

Head of Pakistan LNG replaced

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan LNG (PLL) has replaced its top manager with immediate effect, appointing Shahid Yousaf as managing director and chief executive, the state-owned operator said on Saturday without giving a reason for the change.

Former Chief Executive Adnan Gilani, a U.S.-educated former Wall Street executive who had been the main public face of Pakistan’s push into the liquefied natural gas sector, “will no longer be associated with PLL and we wish him the best,” it said in an emailed statement.

“Mr Yousaf brings a vast and rich experience of LNG/Gas sector to lead and grow the operations of the company,” it said.

The group gave no explanation for the abrupt change in leadership but denied reports in the Pakistani press that the move was connected with an anti-corruption investigation.

“Mr. Gilani’s resignation is due to reasons unrelated to any NAB investigation,” it said in a separate statement, referring to the National Accountability Bureau, an anti-corruption body. It said Gilani was a “world class professional” and said the company had achieved “remarkable results” under his leadership.

No comment was immediately available from Gilani.

Pakistan has stepped up its purchases of LNG sharply in recent years as it has grappled with a chronic energy and fuel crisis that has led to repeated power outages and weighed on its struggling economy.

In March, Gilani told an investment conference that Pakistan’s LNG purchases could triple over the next three to five years to as much as 30 million tonnes.

It was not immediately clear whether the management change would have any impact on any long term contracts under discussion with Pakistan LNG, which buys liqueifed natural gas from the international market to supply to the domestic market.

The drive into the LNG sector was initiated under the previous government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and has been the subject of a series of corruption investigations targeting officials including Sharif and his successor as prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Ros Russell

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