Govt to auction 20 new oil and gas exploration blocks next month: Nadeem Babar

ISLAMABAD  – Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar has said that the government would auction 20 new oil and gas exploration blocks during the next month as part of its strategy to achieve self-reliance in the energy sector.

“Bids for the auction are expected to be held by mid-January to encourage exploration activities in the country,” he said in an interview with the Bloomberg, a US-based news agency.

The SAPM said Pakistan, in collaboration with Russia, would start building a 1,100 kilometer (684 miles) gas pipeline to transport the commodity from Karachi to Lahore.

Under the project, he said, Pakistan would have a majority share of 51 percent to 74 percent, while Russia would own the remainder.

He said Pakistan s two state-companies, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company, had started acquiring land for the pipeline, which would be constructed with a leading role of a Russian consortium.

Nadeem Babar said Pakistan, which imported its first cargo five years ago, currently had two Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals. “It s running the two terminals at capacity to meet peak winter demand, with 12 cargoes secured for December and 11 for January.” He said two more LNG terminals, Energas and Mitsubishi s Tabeer Energy, were expected to start in the next few years.

The SAPM said Pakistan had LNG deals for 700 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) and the government would decide if the nation needed another medium-term LNG contract for five years after reviewing demand from power generators, the biggest consumers of the fuel, in the next three months.

He said Pakistan had also decided that it would only import cleaner Euro-5 diesel from January after doing the same for gasoline earlier this year. “Besides imports, Pakistan also plans to add 150 MMCFD of domestic gas output this month, including 50 MMCFD from the Mari gas field.”