DOHA, Nov 7: Pakistan and Qatar agreed on Wednesday to collaborate in energy and trade and discussed formalities for Pakistan importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
President Asif Ali Zardari met Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabar Al Thani and discussed ways of promoting trade and investment ties to add substance to bilateral relations.
They also discussed the possibility of jointly developing hydropower sector, identifying sources of financing and exploring investment opportunities in energy sector and rehabilitation of existing hydropower plants.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the talks focused on import of LNG by Pakistan.
She said President Zardari expressed satisfaction that the Qatar Gas had signed an agreement with Pakistani gas companies for supplying up to 3.5 mtpa (million tons per annum) of LNG.
The foreign minister said President Zardari apprised Qatari PM of generous incentives offered by Pakistan under the petroleum exploration and production policy 2012.
The two sides stressed the need for enhancing airline linkages by increasing frequency of flights of the Pakistan International Airlines and the Qatar Airways between Islamabad and Doha. President Zardari offered facilities of opening of branches of Qatari banks.
Dr Asim Hussain, adviser to the prime minister on petroleum and natural resources, said the meeting focused on early finalisation of formalities relating to LNG import. He said the two sides were keen to sort out details as early as possible.
He called upon the Qatari petroleum and gas companies to take advantage of the new policy and invest in Pakistan’s oil and gas exploration and production sector.
He said Pakistan was interested in importing 77 (mtpa) of LNG which would be initially provided to powerhouses to enable them to generate 2,500 megawatts of electricity.
President Zardari urged Sheikh Hamad to absorb Pakistani skilled and semi-skilled labour in Qatar and said 90,000 Pakistani expatriates were efficiently contributing to Qatar’s economy.
He said more Pakistanis could effectively meet part of Qatar’s demand for two million workforce for its infrastructure projects for FIFA 2022 World Cup to be held in Doha.
He stressed the need for diversifying trade between the two countries. He expressed satisfaction over remittances from Qatar that had increased to $354 million in 2010 from $339.51 million in 2009.—APP