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LNG Import: Commerce Ministry seeks energy requirements report from export oriented industries

LNG Import: Commerce Ministry seeks energy requirements report from export oriented industries

ISLAMABAD: In the wake of imminent beginning of import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in coming months, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has decided to get the information from the export oriented industrial sector about energy requirements.

“Minister for Commerce, after getting input from export oriented industrial sector about its energy requirements, will take up the issue with the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources (P&NR)” a well placed source at MoC told this scribe here on Thursday.

The prevailing energy crisis is badly influencing the industrial sector and hampering quantum of exports which has been a matter of prime worry for the current government. In this regard, in a recent meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged the Minister for Commerce to keep focus on enhancing the exports.

Country’s textile industry has potential to meet shortfall in exports that has reached $1 billion during first nine months of current fiscal year against the corresponding period provided if it is facilitated with continuous energy supply and globally competitive interest rates.

The textile exports would have crossed $12 billion in first nine months of current fiscal if production shortfall in quantity terms had not taken place. Only in the month of March, the quantitative exports of cotton cloth have declined by 43%, followed by 33% drop in knitwear, 30% in bed wear, 22% in towel and 35% in readymade garments.

“Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir is of the view that domestic gas will be available in significant quantity in result of imported LNG, therefore, the export oriented industrial sector must submit report about its energy requirement” a well placed source at MoC told this scribe here on Thursday.

The source said that feeling the pulse, the Minister for Commerce had assigned the task a two member team headed by Additional Secretary Azhar Chaudhry and Joint Secretary Ashraf as member to make telephonic contacts with heads of the concerned industrial units

They have been given deadline of two days to compile their report and submit to the Minister. After getting the report from the team, the Minister for Commerce will take up the issue of provision of gas as per demand of the export oriented sector with the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources (P&NR).

Last week, after signing an agreement with Qatar for the exploration of oil and gas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa., Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that first shipment of LNG will reach Pakistan by the end of March. He claimed the power generation cost through LNG will reduce by 40 per cent as compared to diesel.

Earlier, in November 2014, Qatar revised downward the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to clear the way for a deal with Pakistan following a sharp decline in energy prices in the international market in the wake of increased LNG supplies. Qatar gas, sought $18 per Million British Thermal Units (mmbtu), but then pushed it lower to $14-16, while the LNG price had come down to $10 per mmbtu in the market.

It is pertinent to note here that in October 2014, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved incentives for use of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) and allowed 570,000 tonnes of urea import.