ISLAMABAD - Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that Pakistan’s agreement with Qatar for import of LNG will not get affected due to the prevailing situation in Gulf States.

“Pakistan has 15-year commercial contract with the Qatar for LNG supply and the severing of diplomatic ties between Qatar and Saudi Arabia would have no impact on this deal,” Abbasi said while briefing journalists about the country’s past months’ performance in oil and gas discoveries.

However, he said that if any ‘force majeure’ event occurs or sanctions imposed on Qatar relating to gas export, then the agreement could get disrupt. But this possibility is far from happening as other major countries such as Japan, Korea, China and India are importing LNG from Qatar, he maintained.

The minister said that Pakistan is importing 2.7 million tons LNG per annum from Qatar, whereas, Japan, Korea and China are importing 60 million tons/annum while India is importing 9 million tons/annum. These countries are making such a huge import from Qatar, so disruption of the deals looks not possible, he asserted.

He said that various private sector international companies are interested in setting up LNG terminals projects in Pakistan and also supply chain. The government is in negotiations with various companies of different countries and in next few weeks the country will reach into an agreement with them, he added. While talking about the oil and gas discoveries, he said that during last four months five discoveries were made in different parts of Sindh. These discoveries initially flow 70 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) and 636 barrels oil per day (BOPD).

These discoveries are at Chhutto-I by OGDCL in Hyderabad with crude oil of 285 bopd and gas of 8.66 mmcfd; Chabaro-I by OGDCL in Khirpur with 20bopd and 15.1mmcfd of gas. PPL’s discovery is Zafir X-I at Sanghar with 310 bopd of oil and 29.2 mmcfd of gas; Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) made discovery of Aqeeq-I at Sujawal having 21 bopd of oil and 5mmcfd of gas. The Austria’s company OMV has also made discovery Khanan-I having production of gas of 11.65 mmcfd.

The minister said that over the last four years of this government 98 discoveries have been made out of 179 wells drilled having success rate of 55 percent. During previous government of the PPP, 100 wells were drilled of which only 39 discoveries were made with a success rate of 39 percent.

Abbasi said that during the PML-N tenure 944 mmcfd additional gas has been injected in the system (466mmcfd from new discoveries and 478mmcfd from existing ones) and almost same volume of gas had been depleted from the existing gas fields.

Similarly, he said, 32,343 barrels of crude oil per day has been added which includes 11,149 bopd from new discoveries and 21,194 bopd from existing fields. For the first time, Pakistan’s domestic oil production has touched 100,698 barrels per day, he claimed.

Regarding Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, he said Pakistan was committed to this project but it was still facing an issue of sanctions. “The transaction of dollars has not been allowed and investors are not willing to finance due to ‘snap back’ clause which may lead to sanctions again on the project,” he added. For the time being in such a situation, Pakistan cannot start work on this $2 billion project. “Snap back” is the provision of re-imposing the sanctions, if Iran was in non-compliance.

While challenging the Sindh’s chief minister regarding the gas supply to Sindh, he said, “I am ready to contest at any forum if it is CCI, Senate or National Assembly or media forums; we are distributing gas in line with spirit of 18th amendment.” He said that the Sindh CM should think how much gas the Sindh was getting in PPP tenure.

Rejecting the allegation that the federal government was not implementing article-158 of the constitution, the minister said that in 2010 at the time of passage of 18th constitutional amendment, SNGPL share of gas was 1665 mmcfd which was reduced by 33 percent to 1120 mmcfd this decline was due to that amendment. The SSGCL share was 1174 mmcfd in 2010 and now it is 1207 mmcfd with 3 percent increase. “We have submitted these facts to the CCI and also written statement to the council,” he added. He further said that the new discoveries of 70 mmcfd will also add to the SSGCL.

Replying a query about allocation of LNG import, he said that allocation policy was not applicable on LNG imports as it was open and any company or province could import it. He said that LNG imports had no allocation system. Abbasi said that two million gas connection applications were pending with SNGPL when present government came into power. He said that government had formulated merit based policy and those applying first were getting connections. He said that 1.5 million gas connection applications were pending now with SNPGL. He said that present government had lifted ban on commercial gas connection.

The government had no plan to increase gas prices from July 1. The Ogra recommends gas prices but the government and gas utilities would manage not to increase gas prices. The government had planned gas supply in coming winter season and despite increase in gas connection, situation would be normal in coming winter season.

Pakistan State Oil (PSO) was now importing 600 million per day LNG which was being supplied to industry, captive power plants, IPPs and CNG. He said that the country was importing one million tons fertiliser before import of LNG, but now it would be exporting 0.6 million tons fertiliser this year due to supply of LNG to fertiliser industry.