Iqbal Z. Ahmed Urges OGRA to Allow Private Sector to Import Cheap LNG

Pakistan GasPort Limited (PGPCL) Founder and Chairman Iqbal Z. Ahmed on June 6, 2024 addressed a seminar, Unlocking the Potential; Navigating the Future of LNG in Pakistan, and called for the private sector to be allowed to import cheap LNG to facilitate end consumers.

Organized by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), the seminar saw several presentations on the LNG sector, including plans for expansion of existing terminals and the strategic importance of LNG in ensuring Pakistan’s energy security and economic growth.

According to a report published in The News, Mr. Ahmed delivered a provocative address in which he noted there had been no investment in the country’s LNG sector since 2017. Referring to the GasPort terminal, which represents a combined investment of USD500 million, he said it was currently the only terminal with a capacity to process LNG beyond the contracted capacities the Government of Pakistan has with the two terminals of GasPort (PGPC) and Engro’s EEVT.

Mr. Ahmed pointed to the harassment and intimidation—in the case of EEVT at the hands of NAB—the two LNG private-sector operators have faced despite contributing significantly in saving precious foreign exchange by providing a relatively cheap fuel in comparison to furnace oil. In October 2019, PLL, a Government of Pakistan entity under the Ministry of Energy, rescinded its 15-year contract with GasPort (PGPC). It was only after three years in arbitration at the London Court of International Arbitration that the decision of PLL was reversed and the contract reinstated.

Without opening up the sector for private sector imports and direct marketing, Mr. Ahmed maintained the present LNG scenario in the country would continue to lack dynamism and lose out to global opportunities to tap cheap LNG in the interest of the country’s end user. To achieve this, Mr. Ahmed urged the OGRA Chairman to exercise his authority to encourage competition so that Pakistan not only secures more investment in the LNG sector, but also, collectively, the boon of a relatively cheap and environmentally efficient fuel to power the country’s industry and households.

A total of 290 vessels have been unloaded at the GasPort, located in Port Qasim, since 2018, delivering in the process 924 billion BTU of regasified natural gas to the national gas pipeline.