Pakistan Govt Urges Foreign Cos to Bid for Energy Deals

LONDON, Apr 26, 2005 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

A senior Pakistan energy official called Tuesday for foreign investors to bid for licenses to develop up to 20 oil and gas blocks.

G.A. Sabri, Director General of Petroleum Concessions at the Pakistan Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, told an investment conference in London that the government had improved its investment terms so foreign companies could now participate in exploration for up to nine years. He added that income tax for investors had been capped at 40%.

According to Sabri, Pakistan has 27 billion barrels of expected oil reserves of which only 3% have been explored and 280 trillion cubic feet of natural gas of which only 42% has been explored so far.

Sabri said Pakistan has a three-prong strategy for developing its natural gas, including exploration projects and importing gas from neighboring countries such as Iran and Qatar and developing its liquefied natural gas industry along the coastal area of Karachi.

The official said that Pakistan is also continuing to explore an option to build an onshore gas pipeline which would bring gas from Iran to Pakistan and possibly on to India. he said India was willing to join in on this.

From 2003-2004, the Pakistan government spent around $3.12 billion on crude oil imports of 13.5 million tons, which meets about 83% of domestic demand. Currently Pakistan is producing around 3 million tons a year of crude, or around 60,000 barrels a day, Sabri added. (C) 2005 FWN Financial News. All Rights Reserved