Dubai: Resource-rich Qatar has assured Pakistan of making Liquefied Natural Gas available to it at favourable price provided that Islamabad builds terminals to receive the import of gas on its own, according to a report.
Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the chief minister of the Punjab province, was in Qatari capital Doha recently to move the stalled LNG import talks forward.
The Pakistani leader and his delegation met Qatar`s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, the Gulf Times has reported.
Sharif said the onus had now been put on the Pakistani leadership to build the necessary infrastructure as soon as possible to make the deal a reality.
"We had a detailed meeting with the energy minister here. Al-Sada pointed out that gas availability is an important issue, but more importantly Pakistan should first take steps to build the LNG stations immediately.
"He advised us to build `floating` (terminal) stations which can be built and operated quickly (within six months), instead of permanent stations (that require at least a year-and-a-half," Sharif was quoted as saying by the paper.
"We need to work on this on an emergency basis so that we can tell the suppliers of the world that we are serious players and serious buyers," he said.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the actual demand in Pakistan for LNG was between 10 and 12 million tonnes per year.
"At the moment, however, we are in talks to negotiate for 2 million tonnes per year. We are hopeful to see a major headway soon," he said.
Once Pakistan builds its terminals, it would have options of buying gas from Oman, US, Australia and Tanzania. However, due to proximity, Qatar is expected to provide the best deal since even the transportation cost would be the cheapest.