Occidental To Invest in Pakistan's Oil Sector

Occidental Petroleum Corp. will invest $150 million in Pakistan's petroleum sector. The company has spent more than $800 million in Pakistan since 1977. Occidental is also looking for a partner for possible offshore oil exploration. Executive vice president John Winterman told Petroleum Minister Usman Aminuddin of the $150 million investment in Islamabad on Thursday, according to a company statement. "He said that Oxy is looking forward to entering into a joint venture arrangement for possible exploration in the offshore area and expressed his company's willingness to participate in the privatization activity," it added.

Pakistan, which has accelerated its privatization scheme, on Thursday invited bids for a 51 percent stake and management control of Pakistan State Oil (PSO), which has a 70 percent share of the local market. Officials at Pakistan's Privatization Commission said the government was also offering its working interests in nine oil fields by mid-April.

The government on Wednesday increased the commission for oil marketing firms on the sale of various products to 3.5 percent by the end of June from two percent.