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Three LNG import projects approved

July 19, 2013
Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar chairing ECC meeting.—Photo by APP
Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar chairing ECC meeting.—Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet approved on Thursday three projects for importing up to 1.7 billion cubic feet (BCF) of liquefied natural gas in two and a half years, starting with 200 MMCFD in six months.

A meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar agreed in principle to sidestep procurement rules for early implementation of the projects without going for biddings and authorised a committee comprising the chairman of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and secretaries of finance and petroleum to address the issue.

The three projects will involve construction of terminals at Port Qasim for receipt, storage and re-gasification of LNG.

The Fast-Track Engro Terminal Project with a capacity of 200 MMCFD is likely to be completed in six to eight months at a cost of $30-40 million. The secretaries of finance and petroleum will finalise modalities for licensing, financing and other technicalities of the project.

The ECC decided to reaffirm its earlier approval for Sui Southern Gas Company’s LPG retrofit project having a capacity of 500 MMCFD at a cost of $175-200m. The project is expected to be completed in 18-22 months.

The meeting also decided to launch the bidding process for construction of a new LNG terminal, with a capacity of 500 to 1,000 MMCFD, at a cost of $200-250m. The project will take 26 to 30 months to complete.

The committee constituted a high-powered committee headed by Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid and comprising Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, deputy governor of State Bank and secretary of economic affairs to streamline registration and regulation of national and international non-governmental organisations and put up a comprehensive report to the ECC in two months.

Mr Hamid was authorised to co-opt any person he might deem necessary for the purpose.

An official statement said the ECC reviewed implementation of its previous decisions and expressed satisfaction over its pace.

The committee expressed satisfaction over sugar stocks and was informed that 100,000 tons had been released for July’s and Ramazan’s requirements.

There is a stock of fuel for 21 days as compared to 12 days in the corresponding period of last year.

The ECC was informed that a 4.2 per cent growth was recorded in the large-scale manufacturing sector during the last financial year compared to 1.3pc in the previous year.

Exports totalled $24.52bn and imports hovered around $44.95bn in 2012-13.

Remittances recorded a growth of 5.6pc, reaching a record $13.920bn during the last financial year. However, revenue collection was Rs1,882.7bn, showing a growth of only 3.1pc.

The meeting was informed that the stock exchange index had reached a record 23,160 points and market capitalisation had nearly doubled.

The committee noted that the ministry of industries had floated two international tenders of 50,000 tons each for urgent import of urea and one of the tenders would be opened on Monday.

The ECC decided not to extend the quota expiry period of the parties which were unable to export sugar within the stipulated time. The quotas of about 400,000 tons of sugar will now be awarded on a first-come first-served basis and the applicants will have to establish an irrevocable letter of credit with a shipment date within 60 days.