Pakistan Accepts Bids for Oil and Gas Concessions

The Pakistani government said yesterday it had accepted the highest bids totalling $42.89 million for its controlling interests in five of nine oil and gas concessions it put up for auction.

Among the winners were BP and Occidental Petroleum Corp which together had placed the highest bid of $8.5 million for a 25 per cent stake in the Badin II field.

An official statement said yesterday the cabinet committee on privatisation had also approved the highest bids received for Pariwali, Adhi, Ratana and Dhurnal oil and gas fields.

But the committee directed the state privatisation commission to "resubmit the position" in the other four bids "after the final response from the bidders in the light of bidding instructions", the statement said.

On Monday, the government said it had received $176 million in bids - representing the sum of the highest bids for each field - for the sale of its working interests in the nine concessions. It did not elaborate.

BP and Oxy already have 25.5 per cent stakes in Badin II, with Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd (OGDCL) holding 25 per cent.

The cabinet committee also accepted a $18.69 million bid by Fauji Foundation, a wealthy army welfare group, for a 17.5 per cent stake in the Pariwali field.

The other successful bids were $11.33 million by Pakistan Oil Field Ltd for 11 per cent of the Adhi field and $3.83 million and $532,500 by Western Acquisitions Inc for 25 per cent stakes each in the Dhurnal and Ratana fields.

However, the committee called for the resubmission of bids for the most valuable concession, a 40 per cent stake in the Badin I oil and gas field. BP and Oxy had placed the highest bids of $131.5 million.

Other concessions where bids have to be resubmitted are the Minwal, Mazarani and Turkwal fields. Pakistan's ambitious privatisation scheme was hit badly by the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. and the subsequent war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

But officials say the programme is now back on track.