Reaping dividends – The Express Tribune

Adequa­te measur­es will also have to be taken to ration­alise oil and gas prices and manage our resour­ces proper­ly

It is hard to ignore the steady momentum seen in the country’s petroleum sector over the last five years. Although the PML-N government would like to take credit for the growth experienced in the sector, it is a combination of luck and consistency that has put us on the path of success in oil and gas exploration ventures. By offering generous incentives to oil and gas exploration and production companies, the outgoing government strategised well enough to deliver satisfactory results. Exploration work did pick up pace but the rate of success in these was not half as much. Still importantly, discoveries rose by 151.3 per cent and domestic oil production grew by 29.8 per cent. Crude oil production has reached 90,000 barrels per day. Higher output brings relief for the country as it would help lessen the heavy oil import bill. This is also an unmistakable sign that Pakistan is gearing up for its burgeoning oil and gas demand under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Pakistan has made giant strides in the LNG sector by setting up their own terminals and developing transmission networks to supply the commodity to consumers. Several international players have begun showing interest in the sector. With some clever marketing and deft handling, the government could attract the private sector in LNG-based activities. Already, the energy situation has improved in the country, especially in Punjab where gas supply had been curtailed by as much as 40 per cent in the wake of the 18th constitutional amendment. But if we expect a vast improvement in the petroleum sector, we will have to develop the policy focus of the government and optimise all sources which can make that possible. Adequate measures will also have to be taken to rationalise oil and gas prices and manage our resources properly and prudently. We watch with interest.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2018.

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