Pakistan invites China, Europe to set up LNG plants

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is eyeing Central Asia as its energy trade partner, especially Turkmenistan, and is seeking gas supplies for Gwadar in an effort to make it an international energy hub by encouraging China and European countries to establish liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and export the fuel.

“We want to be a trading partner of Central Asia as it is the capital of energy. We have given proposals for bringing gas through a pipeline to Pakistan,” State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik said while talking to media on Wednesday, adding that there were huge gas reserves in Turkmenistan, almost equivalent to those of Qatar.

“We offer to the world, especially China and Europe, to come and establish LNG plants in Gwadar and export gas to other countries,” the minister said.

He dismissed the notion doing rounds in social media that the Russian crude oil supply to Pakistan came from India.

The state minister, however, emphasised that Pakistan needed to strike short and long-term LNG supply deals as there were expectations that if Ukraine war ended, an energy glut would emerge and more and more LNG would be in the pipeline for the next few years.

Azerbaijan LNG deal to end gas crisis

Separately, while talking to a private news channel, Malik announced that an LNG purchase agreement framework with Azerbaijan will resolve Pakistan’s gas crisis and ensure no shortage for domestic consumers in the upcoming winter season.

He revealed that Azerbaijan will supply a monthly LNG cargo to Pakistan at a more affordable price. He added that the long-term agreement between Pakistan and Azerbaijan will result in the establishment of 9 to 10 cargo factories in the country this year. Through cooperation in the oil and gas sectors, Azerbaijan will help Pakistan meet its energy needs.

Addressing concerns about gas shortages, Malik assured that the government would be able to control the shortage during the winter season. He acknowledged infrastructure issues in specific areas of Karachi and emphasised that resolving these problems is a priority.

He also highlighted the government’s plan to attract investment from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as part of the Economic Revival Plan. He expressed optimism that the influx of billions of dollars in investments would generate employment opportunities for youth and women.

Regarding the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Malik said that Pakistan has fulfilled all the conditions for a staff-level agreement, and the government remains hopeful that the IMF programme will materialise soon.

In response to questions about additional benefits for the Senate chairman, Malik strongly condemned the privileges and allowances granted, considering the country’s severe financial crunch. As a senator, he pledged to play his role in objecting to these special privileges.

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