ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday said that the deal sealed with Qatar for import of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) at the price of 4.78 dollars per mmBtu was the cheapest of its kind in South Asia .Prime Minister’s spokesman Dr Mussaddiq Malik at a Press conference said that the landmark deal would save the country Rs 100 billion per annum and would contribute to meeting the country’s energy needs by 25 per cent.

He said that settled price was 13.37 per cent of the brent and was cheaper than the gas to be imported through Iran-Pakistan and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects.He said that even India’s LNG contract was expensive by 30-35 per cent than Pakistan’s deal with Qatar.He mentioned that LNG would be cheaper than Pakistan’s indigenous gas. The import of gas on lower charges was almost impossible, he added.

He said that the import of LNG from Qatar would start within 60 days.The spokesman said that Cabinet in 2013 had given the approval of the government-to-government deal between Pakistan and Qatar for LNG’s import.He said that negotiating committee comprising members of the two countries undertook 12 rounds before agreeing at the price.

He said that Pakistan had signed the contract of non-disclosure of LNG’s price till the signing of the agreement, which was inked during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Qatar on Wednesday.He said that the price of LNG was inter-linked with global oil prices and would increase or decrease accordingly.The spokesman said that Qatar LNG would cast positive impact on power generation, fertilizer production, CNG and country’s industrial sector.

He said that country imported fertilizer valuing $265 million as gas shortage halted local production. Besides facilitating CNG sector, it would also reduce the pollution level increased by other fuels, he added.He said that another two LNG terminals would be established in Sindh and Gwadar and once completed, the country’s gas shortage would be overcome.

To a question, Dr Mussaddiq Malik clarified the LNG contract had been signed between government to government having no involvement of any private company, indentor or agent.He reiterated that the country would overcome power crisis by 2017, though loadshedding had already been reduced both in urban and rural areas. Some power projects including Tarbella-IV, Sahiwal coal power project were nearing completion and work on several others was also in progress, he said.