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Thursday July 18, 2024

Oil, gas firms to invest $5bn over three years: PMO

After consultation with representatives of the sector, would formulate proposals to create attractive policy for exploration and development of petroleum and gas reserves in Pakistan

By Our Correspondent & Pervez Bashir
July 07, 2024
Prime Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting with a delegation of Petroleum and Gas Exploration and Production Companies at PM House in Islamabad on  July 6, 2024. — PPI
Prime Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting with a delegation of Petroleum and Gas Exploration and Production Companies at PM House in Islamabad on  July 6, 2024. — PPI 

ISLAMABAD: Local and international firms working in Pakistan’s oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) sector have announced an investment of US$5 billion during the next three years in the country. The announcement was made in a meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday, at the PM House.

A representative delegation of companies told the meeting that during the next three years, around 240 places would be drilled with an investment of $5 billion to explore petroleum and gas in Pakistan.

The prime minister constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, which would include experts, secretaries and relevant authorities. The committee, after consultation with representatives of the sector, would formulate proposals to create attractive policy for exploration and development of petroleum and gas reserves in Pakistan.

PM Shehbaz directed the relevant authorities to solve all problems of the sector and submit policy proposals to the constituted committee on priority.

The meeting was informed that currently, Pakistan’s domestic production stood at 70,998 barrels of petroleum products and 3,131mmscfd gas per day. The PM invited petroleum and gas exploration and production companies to also find the offshore reserves.

State Bank of Pakistan Governor Jamil Ahmed told the meeting that on the prime minister’s special instructions, all remittances had been sent to the respective countries of oil and gas production companies.

Later, PM Shehbaz Sharif said, “I am well aware of the concerns and worries of people regarding increase in electricity prices, and I am working day and night to give relief to people in this regard.” He disclosed that work was under way to provide relief to those consuming 200 or 300 units of electricity per month, like the 100-unit consumers.

In response to a question, he said that the independent power producers (IPPs) agreements were also being worked on. “Our ministry and team are working on it; we expect positive results,” he added.

In response to another question, he said operation ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ was needed for peace and stability. “Now, even Tehreek-e-Insaf has agreed to participate in the all parties conference being held on the issue soon,” PM Shehbaz said adding, “It will not only have far-reaching results, but it is also expected to end terrorism in the country.”

PM Shehbaz Sharif said everyone should consider it as a national duty to bring peace and stability in the country. “If there is peace and stability, the doors of foreign investment will be opened,” he added. He hoped that all national parties would participate in the all parties conference with positive proposals and with an open heart.

The PM said there was a useful discussion with Russian President Putin. “Hope he will visit Pakistan soon,” he added. “We want to import more oil from Russia.”

He said the painful situation in Gaza was also discussed in the organisation’s summit, “which is part of our policy, as is our long-standing and consistent policy on atrocities in Kashmir”.

The PM said: “We made it clear that Afghanistan should take measures against terrorism. In the APC, we will take everyone into confidence on all matters related to it.”

Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz Sharif ordered strict action against officers and personnel charging excess units in electricity bills. He asked the Power Division to immediately suspend such officers and personnel of the distribution companies (DISCOs) and conduct an investigation against them through the FIA “as they were enemies of people”.

The PM chaired a meeting regarding reforms in power sector and solarisation on Saturday. He directed to unmask those who had sent extra units to protected consumers category using less than 200 units per month. He also ordered for immediate closure of dysfunctional government-run power units and those which had been producing expensive electricity.

Separately, PM Shehbaz Sharif chaired a meeting to review implementation of agreements and MoUs signed between Pakistan and China. The PM said that recently a delegation of Chinese shoe-manufacturing companies had visited Pakistan with regard to relocation of their plants in Pakistan, adding that such companies had the capacity to invest about 5 to 8 billion dollars in Pakistan, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

He said the local shoe manufacturers association was in constant contact with the Chinese companies in this regard. Moreover, he said about 12 renowned Chinese companies related to agriculture sector would be taking active part in the Food and Agri Expo being held in Pakistan.

The PM also reviewed progress on sending a total of 1,000 Pakistan students on government scholarships to China for latest training in the agriculture sector. He ordered for sending students from the backward areas of Balochistan province on priority basis.

The prime minister directed Wapda authorities for establishment of safe centre for fool-proof security arrangements of Chinese nationals working on Dasu and Diamer Bhasha dams. The PM also asked for accelerating negotiation process with the Chinese manufacturing companies for relocation of solar panels and its accessories units to Pakistan.