US investors show interest in oil and gas sector

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LAHORE: US investors are showing a keen interest in Pakistan’s oil and gas exploration sector because of the incentives provided in the recently announced petroleum policy.

However, the government still needs to create awareness about its benefits to attract more investors from other parts of the world as well, stated US Commercial Counselor James Fluker, while talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Farooq Iftikhar during a visit to LCCI.

Frank P Tallute, Economic Officer, US Consulate, LCCI Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad, former President Tariq Hameed, Executive Committee members Mian Zahid Javaid, Mumshad Ali and Asia Saail Khan also spoke on the occasion.

US Commercial Counselor James Fluker said that newer discoveries in oil and gas could help Pakistan overcome its energy woes to some extent. “US has surplus gas that it could export,” he said. “A large part of US assistance to Pakistan is focused on energy as it is alive to the issue.”

He said that despite the many challenges being faced, the private sector in Pakistan is doing well. Regarding civil nuclear technology, Fluker said that no option should be discarded and should be considered at the higher level.

Also speaking on the occasion was LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar, who called for immediate US response to Pakistan’s energy woes. “There must be some timeframe to this regard as Pakistan and US have been enjoying cordial relations for the last many decades,” he said. “A lot of problems could be solved if US grants greater access to Pakistani merchandise.”

Former Water and Power Development Authority Chairman Tariq Hameed said that energy is the only issue impeding economic growth in Pakistan. “We appreciate the assistance the US is providing in the energy sector,” he said, adding that the problem is enormous and could not be tackled by adding 200-400 MW per year.

He added that the country is already facing power shortage of 5,000 MW. “The government says that the power needs are increasing by six percent a year,” he said, adding that although this is a suppressed figure, even at this rate we would need 1,200 MW every year to remain at the current shortage level. He appreciated US commitment to provide financial support for the Bhasha dam but pointed out that it would take 10 years to build it.


Courtesy: The News

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