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March 5, 2021

New LNG deal with Qatar: Pakistan to get 450 cargoes in 10 years at 10.13pc of Brent

Top Story

March 5, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will import 450 cargos in 10 years from Qatar under G-to-G (govt to govt ) new LNG deal with effective rate of 10.13 percent from January 1, 2022 though the deal is done at 10.20 percent of the Brent.

The port charges per LNG cargo at Qasim Port stands at $620,000-750,000, but Qatargas would pay the port charges of $320,000 on its one cargo while the remaining is paid by PSO. However, now under new LNG deal the Qatargas will now pay $400,000 and the remaining will be paid by the PSO and this is how the state owned entity will have a relief of $80,000 per cargo, which will help reduce the tariff of LNG with effective rate of 10.13 percent of the Brent. And just under the head of port charges relief from Qatar, Pakistan will be able to enjoy relief of $38 million in 10 years.

Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum, Nadeem Babar, stated this in an exclusive talk with ‘The News’, here on Monday. He said the deal with Qatar was the best one, which was publically disclosed. However, he said in 5-6 months ago, the same deal was finalized with China at 10.2 percent of the Brent but for one cargo in a month. However, Pakistan will import primarily 1-2 cargos per month than will increase up to 4 cargoes per month from 2024 onward. He dispelled the impression that LNG deal with Bangladesh is also finalised at 10.20 percent of the Brent saying it is above 11 percent of the Brent.

Nadeem Babar said prior to January 1, 2022, the two state owned entities, including Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) and Pakistan State Oil (PSO), would either be merged with surviving entity of PSO or PLL would be made subsidiary of PSO to utilize the two LNG terminals, one owned by Engro and other owned by PGPCL. Replying to a question, the SAPM said he never opposed the long term LNG deal but he used to raise certain objections about terms of the 15 year agreements done by the PML-N government such as the provision of price review clause under which price would be negotiated after 10 years.

The SAPM said the PTI government has also inked the deal for 10 years but with the clause of review of prices after 4 years. He said that in next 3-4 years, the LNG producing countries such as Qatar, Australia and Russia are going to increase their capacity to produce more LNG for world market, which would help reduce the price of the product and there are many chances that after 4 years, there would be slight reduction in the LNG prices, Pakistan would get from Qatar under price review clause.

Nadeem Babar said, in nutshell, after four years time, Pakistan would attain a price that would be hovering at that time in the market. He termed that the comparison of prevalent spot purchasing price of 10.04 percent of the Brent with the deal at 10.20 percent for 10 years as intellectual dishonesty arguing that sport cargoes prices fluctuate on daily bases. However, it can be compared with annual average price of spot cargoes for 10 years. When asked as to why not the PTI government has attempted for price discovery as it was done by the PML-N government for getting a better price, Babar responded that after finalising the price with Qatar over 14 percent of the Brent, the then government issued a tender for five years and an LNG trading company Gunvor came up with an offer of 13.37 percent of the Brent.

The SAPM also built his argument posing a question that the then government should have gone for price discovery by comparing the price offered by Qatar with the bid from another LNG producing country and not from LNG trading company. He said the LNG trading company gets the product from LNG producing country and then sells it with its margin of profit. He further said that under 15 years long time agreement done by the PML-N government, the country would get 900 LNG cargoes and under deal with Gunvor and it got 60 cargoes, so how can the price of 900 cargoes can be compared with the price of 60 cargoes.

Babar raised the ability of the then team to negotiate saying the price of 900 cargos in 15 years long time should have been at price of somewhere at 12 percent of the Brent. He also said the claim of the PML-government that it did the best deal at 13.37 percent of the Brent is not right at that time many countries had done better deals with Qatar. He also mentioned that after 15 years deal, it also inked deal in 8-10 months time with ENI-another LNG trading company at 11.86 percent of the Brent meaning by that the 15 years long-term deal could have been done at 11.86-12 percent of the Brent.

He also maintained saying that PML-N government functionaries had not negotiated well despite the fact that they started negotiating with Qatar authorities from 2014. Babar reiterated that he and his team did well and managed the good deal at 10.20 percent of the Brent.