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Monday June 17, 2024

‘Private sector must be allowed to import cheap LNG’

Iqbal Ahmed highlighted the bitter fact that since 2017, not a single new investment had taken place in the LNG sector in the country

By Khalid Mustafa
June 07, 2024
Pakistan GasPort Limited (PGPCL) Chairman Iqbal Z. Ahmed addresses an event. — X/@IqbalZAhmed/File
Pakistan GasPort Limited (PGPCL) Chairman Iqbal Z. Ahmed addresses an event. — X/@IqbalZAhmed/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan GasPort Limited (PGPCL) Chairman Iqbal Z. Ahmed suggested on Thursday that the private sector should be allowed to import cheap liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fulfil consumers’ need.

Addressing a seminar titled ‘Unlocking the potential, navigating the future of LNG in Pakistan’, he said Ogra Chairman Masroor Khan should exercise his authority to open up LNG import sector for private players to bring more competition so that Pakistan could secure more investment in the sector.

Iqbal Ahmed highlighted the bitter fact that since 2017, not a single new investment had taken place in the LNG sector in the country. “GasPort terminal represents a combined investment of $500 million, and is the only terminal currently that has the capacity for LNG processing beyond the contracted capacities that the Government of Pakistan has at the two terminals, GasPort (PGPC) and Engro’s EEVT.

He pointed to how the two LNG private-sector operators, that have contributed significantly to saving precious foreign exchange by providing a relatively cheap fuel in relation to furnace oil, have had to go through harassment and intimidation, and in the case of EEVL, at the hands of NAB.

In October 2019, PLL, a government of Pakistan entity under the Ministry of Energy, rescinded its 15-year contract with GasPort (PGPC). Subsequently, after three years in arbitration at the London Court of International Arbitration, the decision of PLL was reversed and the contract reinstated.

He mentioned a total of 290 vessels have been unloaded at the GasPort, located in Port Qasim, since 2018 having in the process delivered 924 billion BTU of regasified natural gas to the national gas pipeline.

The Ogra chairman welcomed all guests, particularly those from the industry. He assured attendees of Ogra’s robust regulatory framework designed to support the LNG industry while respecting individual rights and protecting consumers.

Member Oil Zainul-Abideen Qureshi, in his opening address, underscored the vast opportunities for new LNG project developers and highlighted the critical role of existing terminal operators in enhancing Pakistan’s energy infrastructure. He reaffirmed Ogra’s commitment to fostering a supportive regulatory environment to attract investment and drive innovation in the LNG sector.

Presentations during the seminar, organised by Ogra, covered a wide range of crucial topics. These included development of new floating storage regasification units (FSRUs), expansion plans for existing terminals, and the strategic importance of LNG in ensuring Pakistan’s energy security and economic growth. Speakers delved into policy frameworks, regulatory incentives, and technological advancements essential for strengthening LNG infrastructure.

The discussions highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in achieving the ambitious goals set for Pakistan’s LNG sector.

The event concluded with a collective commitment from all stakeholders to work towards a sustainable and prosperous future for LNG in Pakistan. Ogra reaffirmed its dedication to supporting the industry’s growth, ensuring a reliable and efficient energy supply for the nation.