ISLAMABAD: Confusion persists over the liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with Qatar as the government has not yet disclosed the per MMBTU price of gas.
Earlier, it was expected that details of the agreement would be made public during the visit of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani that concluded on Tuesday. The agreement for import of LNG from Qatar was signed on March 13.
During the visit of the Emir of Qatar, many MoUs were signed in energy, trade, economic, investment, manpower and defence.
Under the $22 billion reported deal, Qatar agreed to supply 500 million cubic feet of LNG per day for 15 years. However, there was no official word on LNG deal and details about the rate of the purchase and sale price.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stated recently that first shipment of LNG would reach Pakistan by the end of March. He also claimed that power generation cost through LNG would reduce by 40 per cent as compared to diesel.
When contacted, a senior official of the petroleum ministry said: “Some of the portion of the deal had been signed during the last Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government by the then petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain.”
About the price of LNG to be paid to Qatar, he said that due to recent decline in prices of petroleum products and its effect on other commodities, the price of LNG to be imported from Qatar has not been ascertained.
He was, however, of the view that it could be between $9 and $10, but its efficiency would be more than the furnace oil being used in power sector.
Actually the entire deal had already been signed; hence the details were not made public during the recent visit of Emir of Qatar, he maintained.
According to an official handout, the Qatari side expressed interest in enhancing the number of Pakistanis working in Qatar on development projects. Both the sides agreed to take measures to enhance trade and strengthen cooperation.
Pakistan and Qatar also signed agreements to further deepen cooperation in education, scientific research, media, culture, youth and sports. The agreements were signed following the delegation level talks between the two countries.
Published in Dawn March 25th , 2015