Pakistan signed an agreement with Qatar on 10 February to import 3.75mn tons/year of LNG for 15 years. The long-awaited deal has been dogged by corruption allegations and concerns over price, but eventually secured approval from Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), part of the finance ministry, on 13 January. The deal is welcome news for Qatar, which faces increasing competition in its core Asian markets. With lower prices biting into government revenues it is seeking to cut costs and streamline the public sector.
The deal was signed on the first day of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Doha and brings to an end a long-running series of negotiations (MEES, 20 November 2015). A 15 year $16bn agreement reached in November failed to secure ECC approval, but the deal was salvaged after Pakistan’s oil minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited Doha in January and secured a price that got the green light from ECC. The finalization of the deal confirms Pakistan’s withdrawal from an agreement to purchase 60 LNG cargoes over four years from Shell. (CONTINUED - 969 WORDS)