Pakistan Seeks to Import More LNG to Address Supply Shortage

Pakistan's Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources, pressured by gas shortages and growing domestic demand, has commenced discussions with liquefied natural gas (LNG) sellers seeking to import a greater quantity of the fuel as it addresses the supply deficit in the South Asian country, local media Business Recorder said Wednesday.

The Ministry has opened talks with suppliers such as United Arab Emirates' Emirates National Oil Co. (ENOC), Malaysia's national oil company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) and Italy's Eni S.p.A., for LNG imports, senior officials told Business Recorder Tuesday.

Pakistan is negotiating with Eni to import 0.75 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of LNG, while PETRONAS is understood to have assured the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources that it would provide 1.5 Mtpa.

"We are also in talks with Dubai's oil firm ENOC to start importing LNG from Oman," the official told Business Recorder, adding that efforts are underway to rid the domestic gas consumers of low gas pressure and gas load shedding in upcoming winter season. Local industry and home residents have urged the Pakistani government to provide LNG to meet their energy needs.

According to data published by BP Statistical Review of World Energy in June 2016, Pakistan's natural gas consumption grew 3.5 percent in 2015 to 1.53 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) 43.4 (billion cubic meters), compared to 1.49 Tcf (41.9 Bcm) in 2014.

Due to the natural gas supply deficit, the Pakistani government planned to import up to 2.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by 2017 for which the required infrastructure including LNG terminals are under construction. The country's first LNG terminal, equipped with a total handling capacity of 4.5 Mtpa was constructed by Engro Pakistan at Port Qasim Karachi in 2015.

Currently, Pakistan receives LNG supplies from Qatar and Swiss trading company Gunvor Group. Qatargas supplies three cargoes monthly, averaging 300 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), while Gunvor provide a cargo averaging 100 MMcf/d.

PETRONAS could emerge a major LNG supplier to Pakistan.

"PETRONAS after Qatargas is the largest LNG supplier and producer with operations across the globe. The company produces a total of 25 million tons of LNG per annum out of which 13 million tons in Malaysia and 12 million tons in other countries including Australia and Canada," the official told Business Recorder.

Chee Yew has covered the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry in Asia for more than 15 years. Email Chee Yew at cheeyew.cheang@rigzone.com

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