LAHORE: In a bid to help fulfill country’s energy requirements through cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, Pakistan has signed a framework agreement with Azerbaijan for LNG procurement on flexible terms.
The agreement was signed between Pakistan LNG Limited and the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) on Monday in the presence of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
This agreement has been described as major achievement for Pakistan towards fulfilling its energy needs after importing the Russia crude oil.
Under this arrangement, every month, one cargo of LNG on concessional rates will reach Pakistan from Azerbaijan. Under the framework agreement, the SOCAR has offered LNG supply to Pakistan in the form of one cargo per month on flexible terms and with credit lines for 30 days after delivery of the cargo.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the life of this agreement is one year which is extendable to one more year; however, it will be up to Pakistan to either accept the cargo or not, there will be no financial penalty if Pakistan does not accept the cargo.
Terming the agreement as a major milestone in fraternal relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, the premier especially expressed gratitude to the President of Azerbaijan for playing a pivotal role in reaching out to this agreement. He recalled that he had visited Aliyev a few weeks ago and was given an exceptionally warm welcome by the president, his government and his team.
Referring to his recent productive and fruitful discussions with the President of Azerbaijan, Shehbaz said, “We have given approval to Azeri airline to land in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. This is a big step forward to promote tourism and investment and exchange of delegations between the two countries.”
The premier said an Azeri delegation of horticulture experts is also arriving in Pakistan today on his invitation. “We want to learn from their expertise to make the landscape of Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Lahore as beautiful as that of Baku,” he said.
About the recent increase in the power tariff, the premier said, it was made under the agreement reached with the IMF but made it clear that this increase will not burden about 63-percent of the total domestic consumers while 31-percent of the consumers have also been given partial subsidy. “The increase in the power tariff would not affect those using up to 200 units per month,” he said, adding: “We had to increase it because of IMF agreement but I strictly said that I will not let the increase in the prices burden the poor.”
About the LNG deal, the PM Shehbaz Sharif said that the two brotherly countries had signed an agreement for the procurement of LNG from SOCAR. Under the agreement, SOCAR would offer Pakistan an LNG cargo each month and Pakistan would be able to decide whether or not it will buy the cargo.
The Ambassador of Azerbaijan said both the countries are deepening their cooperation in diverse fields including energy, defence, IT and transport. He said the two sides are also negotiating a preferential trade agreement, expressing the confidence that they will be successful in this regard as well.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023