Islamabad   -  ExxonMobil and Pakistani energy company Universal Gas Distribution Company (UGDC) has signed LNG supply deal and the first Cargo of the imported gas by a private company will be arriving next month.

Under the agreement signed between both the companies a total of four cargos will be imported in one year, UGDC CEO Ghiyas Paracha told The Nation.

The gas supply deal between world’s largest oil and gas company ExxonMobil and Universal Gas Distribution Company (UGDC) which will result in the import of private LNG for the first time in the history of Pakistan. The agreement was signed in the American city of Houston between UGDC, the first company to get private gas marketing license in Pakistan and ExxonMobil. UGDC CEO Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha and ExxonMobil Vice President Richard Rayfield signed the agreement on the behalf of their respective companies.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, LNG Market Development Chairman Alex Volkov, Market Development ExxonMobil President Irtiza Sayyed, ExxonMobil Country Manager Pakistan Shahrukh Mirza, senior officials of petroleum ministry and UGDC were also present on the occasion.

The previous government of PML(N) had permitted the import of LNG gas for CNG stations and the owners of around 1,200 CNG station in Punjab, Potohar and ICT registered a company with the name of Universal Gas Distribution Company for the import of the LNG. It is pertinent to mention here that for the first time a private company will be importing LNG as earlier only the state owned companies PSO and PLL was allowed to import the commodity.

Ghiyas Paracha said that the private import of LNG will not only help to bridge the gas demand and supply gap but will also reduce the gas prices at the CNG stations. Ideally the price of CNG should be 30 percent lower than the petrol price, Paracha said adding that unfortunately nowadays this is not the case in Pakistan. There is a difference of only 21 percent between the price of CNG and Petrol, he maintained. The import of LNG by UGDC will ensure that the price of CNG will be 30 percent less than petrol, he claimed.

The UGDC will use the existing LNG terminal facility for the handling of their Cargos, he said. They will request the government to provide them a spot for our cargos in the lenient season, Paracha said. “Hopefully in October we will get a slot for our first cargo,” he added.

Meanwhile a press statement issued here stated that speaking at the event, Nadeem Babar said that this is a historic day as ExxonMobil has decided to invest in Pakistan after a gap of twenty years. The deal is an honour for Pakistan and we will promote ease of doing business to promote investment in all the sectors including the energy sector said the Advisor.

Nadeem Babar further said that the government wants to come out of the gas import and this deal is the first step in that direction. Investment by ExxonMobil will also propel other energy companies to invest in Pakistan which will bring down the price of gas to help masses and the environment.

Alex Volkov, and Irtiza Sayyed said that we have decided to invest in Pakistan after two decades with a vision to provide economical and environmentally friendly gas to consumers on regular basis. We will support UGDC so that it can overcome the shortage of gas in Pakistan.

Ghiyas Paracha said that the government has changed third party rules to allow the private sector to import gas. Now we will be able to buy surplus gas from terminals and also buy the fuel from five upcoming terminals which will revive the CNG sector.

He said that the move will increase parity between the price of CNG and petrol, fares would be reduced, one billion dollars of foreign exchange per annum would be saved, two million vehicles would be converted to CNG and foreign investment would be attracted for import of CNG kits and cylinders.