ISLAMABAD (APP) - A leading Australian firm SMEC International has joined hands with Clough Engineering and Integrated Solutions (CEIS) to enhance its activities in the exploration of oil and gas in Pakistan. Australian High Commission in Pakistan and CEIS hosted a reception at the embassy to celebrate the acquisition of CEIS by the SMEC International. Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar who was the chief guest at the reception speaking on the occasion said the government has demonstrated a strong political commitment and taken a number of steps to further develop the oil and gas sector keeping with the overall vision of a liberalized economy. He said it the decisions of the present democratic government has resulted in a number of structural changes and contributed to a competitive market and improved quality of service. The Minister appreciated and lauded the efforts of Australian High Commission and Austrade for promoting business relations with Pakistan. He also acknowledged the CEIS for its valuable contribution in the oil & gas sector and added that it is heartening to know that SMEC International has acquired CEIS, which is already doing a great business in Pakistan. The Minister hoped that this acquisition would certainly prove to be useful for both CEIS and SMEC and they would combine their strengths in order to achieve synergistic benefits. Chief Executive Officer, CEIS Pakistan Tassadaq Malik in his welcome remarks briefed them guests about Cloughs contribution during past 17 years in the oil & gas market. He said the Clough at the outset delivered multimillion dollar EPCC projects like, Dhodak LPG Extraction Plant, Uch Gas Transport Pipeline for OGDCL, Sawan Gas Field Development Project for OMV and for the last few years providing state-of-the-art engineering and design services to its clients primarily dealing in production of oil & gas. He said during last two years, Murray & Roberts purchased the major shares of Clough and restructured area of operation and restricted Clough to focus more on internal market and pulled out from India, Pakistan, Saudi and Indonesia. He informed the gathering that CEIS has a fully functional office in Islamabad with in-house support infrastructure ensuring timely delivery of projects under the new agreement. The CEIS has excellent IT and communication set ups supporting integrated project management approach between Pakistan and internationally based resources, he added. Tim George, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan speaking on the praised the services of Clough for the last 17 years in Pakistan. He said that during this time Clough delivered successfully a number of projects including some giant turnkey oil & gas projects which speaks its outstanding business potential & expertise. He recollected the Australian Prime Minister John Howards inauguration of Cloughs permanent offices in Pakistan in 2005. CEIS as subsidiary of Clough, since then has been providing engineering services successfully to clients like British Petroleum, BHP Bhilliton, OMV, Petronas, Pakistan Petroleum, China Petroleum, Tethyon Copper Company and many other reputed companies. He enlightened the guests by acquainting SMEC International (Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation) which has acquired CEIS Pakistan operations, as a leading Australian engineering and development consultancy company with 40 years of experience, nearly 4,000 staff, and offices throughout Australia and in 25 cities around the world with international reputation for excellence in engineering and design. Earlier, Mr Barry Norman, the Managing Director SMEC International, in his address thanked the Australian High Commissioner Tim George, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar. He said, Acquiring the former Clough business in Pakistan has added to SMECs already strong presence in Pakistan and South Asia generally and is a part of the strategic growth objectives for the region. He said SMEC has not been active in the oil & gas sector and SMEC views CEIS as the foundation on which to develop, expand and grow this market both in South Asia and to the broader SMEC footprint. The reception was also attended by Australian High Commissioner Tim Geroge, Shanaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to Prime Minister, local & foreign oil & gas companies representatives, government officials and senior management of SMEC International from Australia.