KARACHI: Minister for Maritime Affairs and Foreign Affairs Abdullah Hussain Haroon on Friday said that ExxonMobil has indicated that it is close to hitting huge oil reserves near the Pak-Iran border, which could be even bigger than the Kuwaiti reserves.

Addressing business leaders at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the minister said that ExxonMobil — an American multinational oil and gas company — has so far drilled up to 5,000 meters close to the Iranian border and is optimistic about the oil find.

The Government of Pakistan, he said, has already taken an undertaking from the company to set up a generation complex worth $10 billion.

The government is also encouraging Chinese and Western investment in the country, he added.

He further said that there is a need to integrate the Karachi Port and Port Qasim so that they could supplement each other in the larger interest of the country.

On the occasion, he said the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) has sufficient funds for purchasing two vessels but this will be done by next government.

The minister said that there is greater need to have new area for fish harbour because the existing one has many issues and there is shortage of land. However, he regretted that the harbour is not well kept and hoped that the European Union (EU) will give subsidy for new fish harbour.

“Foreign investors are interested in coming to Pakistan, provided we manage to meet their standards and attract them to make investment,” he stressed.

The minister advised that ports should be developed so that they could meet the country’s demand on the basis of its markets and products and fully supported the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) development projects highlighted by KPT Chairman Admiral Jamil Akhtar.

Responding to a question, Mr Haroon said that there was no need to give Pakistani land to foreigners, adding: “There is need that as a nation should take up such projects of national importance.”

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2018