Feasibility study underway to set up gas storage facilities: SAPM

'As many as 35 new exploration blocks will be awarded to potential bidders in next 12 months'

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar said on Friday that the government has initiated a feasibility study to set up gas storage facilities in order to ensure smooth supply of the commodity during peak winter and summer seasons.

“Currently, we have a system of 5 Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) gas. The demand will increase to 7BCF in the next two to three years, and we have no gas storage system, which is a major problem,” he said while addressing a press conference along with Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan, Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad and SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan.

Accordingly, he said a study has already been initiated and the Chinese government has been requested to incorporate this scheme in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

Commenting on the government efforts to step up oil and gas exploration activities in potential areas of the country, the SAPM said as many as 35 new exploration blocks would be awarded in the next 12 months.

He said the bidding process to award 10-12 blocks would start in the coming month, while the same number of blocks would be offered during next summer and 10-12 more in December 2020.

In this regard, Nadeem Babar said roadshows had been arranged in Canada and US, while the (power division) teams also visited Russia. “We are planning to visit Middle Eastern countries next week.”

He said Chinese investors were also taking a keen interest in participating in oil and gas exploration activities in Pakistan.

The SAPM informed that at present, 55pc needs of diesel and petrol were being met through the import of petroleum products in the finished form, while 40 to 45pc requirements were fulfilled by refining the crude oil at domestic refineries.

Babar said the government was encouraging the establishment of new oil refineries in the country, besides upgrading the existing facilities to achieve self-sufficiency in the oil refining sector.

He said the uplift of Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) was being planned at a cost of $1 billion, adding that a Chinese company has been invited to participate in the project.

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