ISLAMABAD (APP) - As many as ten companies signed Licences / Petroleum Concession Agreements with eight E&P Companies here on Tuesday. Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar was the chief guest on the occasion. Total area of the ten blocks would be 17,789.77 Sq. Kms with a minimum firm work commitment of US $ 52.6 Million. In his address on the occasion, Naveed Qamar pledged to extend full support to the upstream companies who had ventured into new vistas of exploration blocks. He said the signing of agreements was a first step towards multi billion dollars investment in the upstream oil and gas sector in Pakistan. It augurs well that so many concessions are being signed today. More blocks would be given out than ever before this year. This is at the forefront of our entire effort, he maintained. Appreciating and encouraging the upstream companies, he expressed the optimism that going into uncharted areas might as well result in some major finds. Your success is our success, your lack of it reflects poorly on us. He said that Allah had blessed the country with indigenous hydrocarbon reserves and hoped that one day the country would become a net exporter of energy rather than a net energy importer. We have always kept our minds and doors open and strive to making Pakistan self sufficient in energy resource, he added. The licences/agreements were signed by Kamran Lashari, Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mohammad Naeem Malik, Director General Petroleum Concessions, Guillermo Quintero, President, Middle East and Pakistan of BP Exploration & Production Inc, Paolo Giraudi, Managing Director, Eni Pakistan Limited (Eni), Ismail Zaivij, Managing Director, Shell Pakistan Ltd., Lt. Gen. (Retd) Mushtaq Hussain, Managing Director, Mari Gas Company Limited, Shah Mahboob Alam, Managing Director, Oil and Gas Company Limited, Anwar Moin, Chief Executive Officer, Orient Petroleum International Inc, (OPII), Khalid Rehman, Managing Director, PPL, Eng. Brig (R), Muhammad Saeed Baig, Director, Special Projects, Saita Pakistan Private Limited (Saita) and Athar M.Khan, Director Zaver Petroleum Corporation Limited (ZPCL). The signing ceremony was also attended by British High Commissioner, Ambassador Netherlands, Administrative Councilor Commissioner, Embassy of Italy, Head of Economic Affairs, Dutch Embassy, eminent professionals of the Ministry and the Industry.