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ISLAMABAD: The Petroleum Division prepared a framework of regulatory authority for the upstream petroleum sector which would be placed before the Council of Common Interest (CCI) for approval.

Nadeem Babar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum said on Tuesday in a virtual meeting with the ADB team in Manila together with Xiaohong Yang, Country Director Asian Development Bank and their Energy team.

The meeting was aimed to discuss the progress of the reform programme in the petroleum sector of Pakistan.

Energy sector reforms are a part of the government’s policy to improve energy economics and secure gas and oil supplies across the country.

Babar highlighted the exploration and production (E&P) activities in the country and said that the first bidding round for 15 onshore oil and gas blocks had been completed.

He said that the minimum investment carried out by the E&P Companies for studies and investigations in these Blocks will be over USD 71 million in three years which will be followed by the development programme in the identified blocks running into hundreds of million of dollars in the located areas.

He noted that the second and third round blocks bidding would be completed by end of this year.

The SAPM informed the forum that the government had prepared a framework of regulatory authority for the upstream petroleum sector, and it would be put in place after approval by the CCI and necessary legislation.

Apprising the participants on unaccounted gas factor (UFG), the SAPM said that both the Sui companies had made significant progress on the UFG Reduction Plan.

In opening remarks, the SAPM thanked and appreciated the ADB for support and cooperation for energy sector reforms in Pakistan.

He said that the government had made significant progress in every agenda item of the energy reforms, despite challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The SAPM apprised the forum that third-party access policy had been fully implemented. He said that the TPA is also available for pipelines and the government had advertised the unused capacity of terminals for private companies enabling them to bring and sell the LNG to consumers of their own choice by this April.

The SAPM appreciated the support of the ADB for hiring of consultant and study of strategic underground gas storage project.

He appreciated the interest of the ADB in funding such a project, after necessary formalities are completed, if Pakistan desires to proceed after the feasibility study.

He underlined the importance of the underground gas storage facilities and said that this project would enhance the country’s capability to import gas and ensure sustainable economic growth.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Xiaohong Yang, the country director of ADB lauded the efforts of the Government of Pakistan for bringing reforms in the energy sector.

She hoped that the bank would continue cooperation in the field of energy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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