* Naveed Qamar says security threats hampering exploration of oil and gas in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was on Wednesday informed that the imported Iranian gas would cost the country double as compared to existing gas prices. Currently, the gas price is about $5 per mmbtu while keeping in view the existing oil prices in international market ($100 per barrel), the price of Iranian gas would be about $10 to $12 per mmbtu. Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar, while answering questions, said that the gap between demand and supply of gas was widening and hence could not be imported at higher prices. The government has signed agreement on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

Every country has to complete its pipeline distribution works within its boundaries. Pakistan has to lay down gas pipeline from Iranian border to Gwadar and then from Gwadar to Nawab Shah. The minister informed the House that Iran had linked gas price with 77 percent international crude oil price in international market. For Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, the government had hired consultants, carried out surveys and soon the work on the project would be kicked off. To another query the minister informed the National Assembly that Balochistan had oil reserves but even then, domestic oil demand could not be met. He said 85 percent oil demand was met through imported oil. In order to increase indigenous production of oil and gas, the government carried out massive exploration during the year 2010. However, after the 18th Amendment, the shares of provinces have increased by 50 percent, and the provinces have to come forward for the exploration of oil and gas.

The minister said that gas reserves were discovered in Zin block, Balochistan areas and its exploration required huge investments.

The majority of oil and gas blocks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan were found in security-threatened areas, which were causing problems for the government in its exploration. However, he assured that the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited would carry out exploration work in Balochistan with the assistance of Pakistan Army and security forces.

Daily Times