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Jan 03 - 16, 2000

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
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  6. Gulf

Additional gas supplies

Karachi and Hyderabad will get additional 50 MMCF per day gas supplies from Badin oil and gas fields following signing of an agreement between Sui Southern Gas Co (SSGC) and the operators of the Badin Gas Fields, Union Texas Pakistan (UTP) on Thursday.

The agreement was signed by Aslam Farook, managing director SSGC and vice president and director of UTP, Tariq Khamisani on behalf of their companies.

As a result of the agreement, the quantity will increase from an average sale of 150 MMCF per day to 200 MMCF per day. Gas is being supplied from Badin fields since '89, says a press release.

The additional 50 MMCF per day would further save the country's sizable foreign exchange as high sulphur fuel oil will be displaced.

Bidders shy away from timber auction

The Azad Kashmir Timber Merchants Association is not taking part in the auction of the commercial timber under the forests department and the AKLASC (Azad Kashmir Logging and Sawmills Corporation) in protest against the re-imposition of LB tax on timber.

The secretary general of the Association, Raja Mohammad Naseem Khan, told newsmen here at the Press Club on Wednesday that since the resumption of the LB tax, five auctions had been held by the forests department and the AKLASC, but none of the merchants participated in the bidding, which, according to conservative estimates, inflicted financial losses to the tune of Rs 100 million on the government.

Mr Khan said that on each cubic foot (cft) of timber, the timber merchants were already paying Rs 8 as Neelum Valley Development Board Tax besides many other taxes.

Oil, gas deals to get legal cover

The federal government has decided to provide legal cover to the agreements it aims to reach with the oil and gas exploration companies on the pricing of the newly discovered oil and gas, well-placed sources in the Petroleum Ministry have confirmed.

Authorities at the ministry are busy in drafting legislation to the enacted as an ordinance by the President of Pakistan. Office of the Petroleum Secretary, Abdullah Yusuf, is the main hub of "legislative activity. Abdullah has conveyed to the exploration companies the government's desire to "make firm commitments covered by the law on the controversial issues like pricing," sources in the ministry said.

Chashma plant to be ready by mid-2000

Pakistan's second nuclear power station, being built with China's assistance, will come on line in mid-2000, PAEC Chairman Ishfaq Ahmed said on Wednesday.

The 300 megawatt nuclear power project is under construction at Chashma in Punjab.

The country's first nuclear power plant has been in operation in Karachi for more than three decades. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman described the new station as a "symbol of Sino-Pakistan cooperation in high technology."

The project is "totally for peaceful purposes," the PAEC chairman told.

Seven exploration licences granted

The government on Wednesday granted seven new petroleum exploration licences to local and foreign companies for exploring oil and gas in Pakistan.

Out of seven, five licences were issued to the joint venture Orient Petroleum Inc. (95 per cent) and Government Holdings (5 per cent) and to another joint venture Oil and Gas Development Co (95 per cent) and Government Holdings (5 per cent).

Orient led joint venture secured petroleum exploration rights over Khewari block No.2568-3, 1625 sq kms Sinjhoro block No. 25685 2351 sq kms, Khipro block No. 2568-6 2246 sq. kms, Mirpurkhas block No. 2568-7, 3335 sq.kms located in Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Umarkot, Khairpur, Nawabshah and Hyderabad districts of Sindh, and Mehar block No. 2767-1, 5030 sq.kms in Larkana/Dadu (Sindh) and Khuzdar (Balochistan).

OGDCL secured petroleum exploration rights over block No. 2568-9,327 sq.kms, in Hyderabad district and Karam Khel block No. 3371-4, 390 sq kms, in Karak (NWFP) and Mianwali district (Punjab). Petroleum Concession Agreements were also signed between the parties.

Orient also executed assignment accord with OGDCL wherein Orient transferred its entire working interests in Khewari block and 76%, in Sinjhoro block along with operatorship of both the blocks. All these blocks have been awarded through competitive bidding.

Orient led joint ventures intend to make a risk investment of about $70.2m for a programme comprising surveys and drilling of 30 wells during the initial three years terms.

OGDCL led joint ventures have a minimum work obligation of surveys and drilling of 5 wells during the initial three years term with minimum expenditure obligation of $24.3m.

74.9pc stakes in lead mining sought

PASMINCO of Australia has asked the present government for the entitlement of its share of 74.9 per cent to start mining of lead-zinc deposits at Duddar, Lasbela district of Balochistan under a tripartite accord with Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) and Balochistan Development Authority (BDA). The shares held by PMDC and BDA are 12.55 per cent each.

Official sources confirmed here on Wednesday that the feasibility report, already prepared, proved 14.31 million tons (11.5 per cent combined lead and zinc) at Duddar area.

Sugar mills

The Kissan Board Pakistan has slated the threat of closing down mills by the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association.

In a statement here on Tuesday the board said that it was unfortunate that when industrialists made hey last year due to high sugar rates they did not pass on this benefit to farmers. And now when sugar industry was under some pressure they were harassing farmers by not lifting their produce and closing down their units. The board announced to hold a countrywide convention of farmers in Islamabad on coming January 25 to mobilize growers against the industrialists' designs.