ISLAMABAD - Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday dispelled the impression that imported LNG was as expensive to generate electricity as diesel and said that it will reduce cost of generation by 50 per cent.

During a press briefing here in the ministry, he also denied that the government had barred any sector from importing their own LNG and said that CNG sector was free to import LNG and the government had not stopped them to do so. The government even had amended the rules to facilitate them in that regard.

On the issue of LNG deal with Qatar, Minister said that the deal had not been finalised yet but it will be done. There were few requirements left to be fulfilled that will not take much time. About the price he said that it has not yet been decided. But the already imported LNG by the fertilizer sector cost less than $8 per Million British thermal units. The two ships were imported by the private sector and the price was almost the same, minister told.

Currently PSO, Sui Southern and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines have to decide about their arrangement. Furthermore, payment mechanism and Letter of Credits (LCs) have to be opened. There was another requirement that was port inspection by the Qatar and once these things are done, the deal will be finalised, minister said.

For the assessment purpose of the port, a company from Qatar was coming to Pakistan on May 6-8 and they will inspect that whether or not the bigger ship will be able to dock here. Qatar’s rules are most stringent in that regard and hopefully when they will pass the port, no other company will have to ask the same question. About the power sector he said that, LNG will decrease cost of generation. Bu he said that payment mechanism for the purchase of LNG has yet to be decided by power sector. About the gas supply to CNG sector, Minister said that the government will provide gas to the sector only if there is ample gas available. He said that gas reserves in Punjab are depleting already. When asked that the power sector seemed not interested in LNG for the power generation purpose, he said that no such thing was conveyed to him. He was however not clear about the power sector that what they wanted to do. He said that with the use of LNG for power generation, country could save at least $1 billion per year. As the project was being delayed for ten years so the country had suffered from a loss of $10 billion until now, Abbasi said.