ISLAMABAD - Pak-Qatar joint ministerial committee meeting, which will be held in Doha, Qatar on February 18, would take up matters pertaining to finalising arrangement for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and expansion of trade between both countries.

A Pakistani delegation scheduled to fly to Doha on February 17 would reach there on same date to finalise a proposed government-to-government arrangement that will help ease energy shortages in Pakistan. Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is set to lead Pakistani side in the bilateral dialogue and LNG import would be at the top of agenda. The upcoming joint ministerial committee meeting would take up issues related with price of imported LNG to Pakistan and conditions concerning with the LNG supply contract, said sources close to top seated gurus at petroleum ministry

Well-informed sources aware of the matter also told that during the meeting both sides would share deliberations to materialise the deal. Pakistani side would told their Qatari counterparts that LNG terminal would become operational in November this year and if Qatar government was not ready to reduce the price of imported LNG then Pakistan would participate in the bid to ensure supply of imported LNG to meet its burgeoning energy needs. Earlier, Qatar had asked Pakistan to set up an LNG terminal before striking a supply deal. Now, as the terminal contract is going to be awarded, this would help assist the upcoming bi-lateral talks, they added.

“Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) would raise the matters pertaining to price of imported gas and conditions in front of Qatari counterparts while Managing Director PPL and high officials of commerce ministry would also be the part of talks to promote and expand bilateral trade between the two countries, “ a senior official at petroleum ministry said.

Pakistan is eager to buy 200 million cubic feet of LNG per day (mmcfd), which will be re-gasified at the Port Qasim terminal and later injected into the system. By 2015, the volume will be increased up to 400 mmcfd. The country is interested in importing two billion cubic feet per day in the next two-and-a-half years.

Earlier, during negotiations with the previous PPP-led government, Doha had offered LNG export at a price equivalent to 14.7 per cent of Brent crude oil when it was hovering around $110 per barrel in the international market.

Later, it pushed the price down to $17.437 per million British thermal units (mmbtu), a 0.5 per cent discount over the previous rate of $18.002 for the 20-year lifetime of the project.