Baku, February 4, AZERTAC
Pakistan is poised to start oil and gas imports from Central Asian states as the Foreign Office has given the go-ahead to the signing of an agreement with energy-rich Azerbaijan, in a move that will lessen Pakistan's excessive reliance on Middle Eastern countries.
A senior official of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources revealed that Azerbaijan had offered to export crude oil, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Pakistan.
It has also expressed interest in constructing a terminal as well as LNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storages in a joint venture between Azerbaijan’s state oil company Socar and a Pakistan-designated company.
The official recalled that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved a proposal on March 10, 2015 for the start of negotiations with Azerbaijan on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for mutual cooperation in the area of oil and gas exploration and production.
In the sixth session of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Commission held in April 2016, both sides agreed to promote investment opportunities in the energy sector including exploration and production of oil and its products, broaden cooperation for the supply of crude oil and its products and set up an LNG and LPG terminal in a joint venture between nominated enterprises of the two countries.
The prime minister had allowed the Ministry of Petroleum to negotiate with energy companies of different countries including those of Azerbaijan.
During negotiations, Pakistan and Azerbaijan agreed to an inter-governmental draft agreement, which was also cleared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Law and Justice Division from political and legal points of view respectively.
Pakistan and Azerbaijan have also agreed on conducting joint research by setting up a laboratory and undertaking oil and gas production tests.
Furthermore, they will share scientific and technological developments in oil and gas exploration and production, while also committing to the training of professionals working in the petroleum industry.
Under the draft agreement, both sides will also move to jointly evaluate the possibility of supporting relevant sides in oil and gas exploration and development projects in the two countries.