Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar on Friday said that currently two Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals are operating in the country to meet the ever-growing energy needs of consumers, hoping that the third facility would be functional by next year.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the minister said Qatar, one of the top suppliers of LNG in the world market, was also looking to invest in establishing an import facility in Pakistan.
“The government is looking into setting up its own import facility by converting a portion of a state-owned liquefied petroleum gas terminal,” he said.
He said Pakistan was pursuing a strategy to open up the oil and gas sector, under its ease-of-doing-business-plan, for active participation of private entrepreneurs to meet the increasing demand for energy in the country.
Hammad said the government was making legislation to expand access to foreign supplies to users representing about 70 per cent of winter demand.
“The current supplies are such that we can barely even meet our current customers. Gas is running low in Pakistan and we have to supplement it,” he said.
Domestic gas production has fallen by about a fifth over the past two years and the legislation that would allow LNG to be supplied to local customers is set to go to the upper house for approval.
As LNG is more expensive than local gas, a detailed discussion on pricing would be needed, but increases won’t be “drastic,” the minister said.
Hammad said Pakistan was also using its surplus electricity as an alternative to reduce the demand for gas.
The government, which has already offered incentives to use electricity rather than gas for heating, was exploring ways to encourage industries to move permanently away from gas-fired generators, Hammad said.