Pakistani Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar, left, speaks as US Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Carlos Pascual, right, looks on during the Pakistan United States Energy Dialogue in Islamabad on Wednesday. – Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: The fourth Pakistan-US energy dialogue began here on Wednesday with US Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs pledging that his country would support Pakistan’s efforts to address the energy crisis.

The dialogue started in 2009 when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced an energy programme for Pakistan. The last dialogue took place in October 2010.

Special Envoy Carlos Pascual said at the two-day meeting that the United States was cognizant of the energy crisis taking a heavy toll on the socio-economic progress of Pakistan.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, who led the Pakistan team, appreciated the US role in addressing the problem and said the talks would go a long way in enhancing the US cooperation and bringing the much-needed efficiency and capacity improvement in the energy sector.

He said the government was committed to resolving the energy crisis and was taking several short-, medium- and long-term steps for the purpose. The development of hydropower resources and use of coal reserve would boost the economic progress, he said, adding that plans were also under way to explore new reserves of natural gas and import of LNG.

Later, the US special envoy held talks with Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh who told the US official that financial support was an important aspect of the shared understanding between the two countries for implementation of certain power projects.

Mr Shaikh listed a number of areas where there was a capacity for the US investment, particularly in the hydropower, coal and LNG projects.

“We are focusing on certain new areas which will help the government in resolving the issue of load-shedding in the country,” the finance minister said.

Mr Pauscal said the US was fully committed to working with Pakistan in the changing political and economic landscape.

He commended economic reforms and urged the government to indicate strategically targeted projects where the US could come up with technical and financial support.