ISLAMABAD  -    The bureaucratic red tapism is creating hurdles in the way of investment by around two dozen multinational and local companies in the liquified natural gas (LNG) sector of the country.

Local and multinational companies have shown interest in the investment of billions of dollars in LNG sector but the response from the government is not very much encouraging as they are still waiting for the government nod, it was learnt reliably here Monday.

The prime minister of Pakistan wants to facilitate the investors but more than 20 companies in LNG sector are awaiting the requisite approval to kick-start their work, said the source.

To avoid severe gas shortage during next winter season, the government is required to involve more and more companies in LNG sector to arrange the import, re-gasification and transportation of around 1000 mmcfd gas prior to winter, said a source in the gas sector. 

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) said that over twenty multinational and local companies are keen to invest billions of dollars in the gas sector of Pakistan which should be welcomed. The multinationals that are interested in investment in Pakistan’s gas sector include Exxon Mobil, Mitsubishi, Trafigura, Eni of Italy, Vito, Gunvor Group, Petronas Global, and Qatargas while some of these corporations are in constant contact with the APCNGA, said Ghiyas Paracha, central leader of the APCNGA informed.

While the local companies include Associated Group, Sapphire Group, Energas, Halmore, Engro Energy, and Bahria Foundation, he added. These companies are inclined to invest in the construction of new gas terminals, gas supply to consumers and laying down new gas pipelines, said.

Paracha said that local and foreign investment in the gas sector will help the government save over one billion dollars in oil import bill, provide affordable gas and electricity to domestic, commercial and industrial consumers and ensure smooth supplies.

He said that the investment will provide a new lease of life to the industrial, commercial and CNG sectors, job opportunities will increase, while the government will earn handsome revenue.

Paracha said that some of these companies are already working in the country but they need government’s approval to expand their operations.