ISLAMABAD: Azerbaijan on Tuesday showed interest to sign a long-term LNG supply agreement with Pakistan to serve the market that sees double digit growth annually in the fuel import.
A delegation of businessmen, led by Ambassador of Azerbaijan Ali Alizada, showed keen interest in exploring business and investment opportunities in Pakistan’s energy sector, during a meeting with Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan.
“They expressed particular interest in oil and gas exploration activities in Pakistan along with offering LNG (liquefied natural gas) supplies on a long-term basis and opportunities in the LNG infrastructure of the country,” an official statement said.
Turab Musayev, head of LNG and business development at State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic also accompanied the delegation. It is the largest oil and gas company in Azerbaijan and its operations span many countries with a focus primarily in Europe and Asia.
Pakistan has developed as an important LNG market in recent years that has attracted interest from various investors.
The government decided to increase the LNG import equal to 400 million metric cubic feet/day (mmcfd) by this yearend. Currently, two LNG terminals are re-gasifying over 1,100 mmcfd LNG, of which the power sector is getting 790 mmcfd and fertiliser industry 180 mmcfd.
At present, the PSO is importing 600 mmcfd LNG from Qatar. Pakistan LNG Limited has short and long-term contracts of 200 mmcfd LNG imports whereas remaining 400 mmcfd LNG is being secured through spot purchases.
The government is also striving for indigenous oil and gas exploration and recently 10 blocks have been awarded, but mostly to local companies, as the foreign companies response was not encouraging.
“We would like to boost our economic ties especially in the energy sector of Pakistan,” Alizada said. Minister Khan said the government has an open door policy for business and investors. “The government has taken important steps towards reducing cost of business in the country which has led to ease of doing business in the country,” he said. “Pakistan believes in an open and competitive market and transparency.”
Minister for energy asked the Azerbaijan side to explore investment opportunities in “gas distribution, exploration and renewable energy which we plan to take to 60 percent of our energy mix in the future”.
The minister offered Azerbaijan access to the Gwadar port. The ambassador apprised the minister of his government’s decision to award him a diplomatic medal in recognition of his kind service to relations between both the brotherly countries. The sides exchanged souvenirs and a vote of thanks with an understanding to continue discussions in the future.