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Oct 16 - 22, 2000

3 exploration accords signed

Pakistan on Monday signed three accords with oil and gas companies for the development of three gas fields with the investment of $428m.

The memorandum of interest (MoI) were signed with joint venture of LASMO, OMV, Premier, Shell, British Borneo and BHP for the supply of gas to Sui Southern Gas Co from Zamzama gas field. The other accords were signed for the development of Bhit and Sawan gas fields, on Monday at the Oil and Gas Conference 2000.

The Zamzama gas field is a discovery in the Dadu concession area with estimated reserves in excessive of two trillion cubic feet. The field is estimated to have production potential of 400/500m cubic feet per day. The field is operated by joint venture of BHP operator with 47.50% share, LASMO 23.75/ Premier 23.75% and Government Holding 5.00%.

The Zamzama gas field is expected to start supply from to Sui Southern Gas Co (SSGC) and Wapda from March 2001. The MoU signed was for the supply of 120MMCFD of Zamzama gas to SSGCL for onward transmission to Guddu through IRBP system and Wapda Sui Guddu pipelines.

The MoI was signed by Philip Aiken of BHP, Peter Cockcraft of Premier, Neil Booth of Lasmo, Khalid Naseem of Government Holding and Abdullah Yousaf, secretary Petroleum.

The accord for the development of Bhit Gas field was signed by Neil Booth of Lasmo, Peter Cockcroft and Mukhtar Ahmed of SSGC.

Heads of agreement for Sawan Gas field was signed with SW Miano Joint Venture, led by Austrian company, OMV. The joint venture with the investment of $160m in the next two years will bring on stream 179 MMCFD gas for delivery to SSGC by late 2002.

The Sawan gas field was developed by OMV, the operator of the SW Miano JV in Jan '98. Following extensive 3d seismic appraisal work and drilling of successful appraisal well, the gas field was declared commercial by the JV in December 1999.

Malaysia to discuss areas of cooperation

The second meeting of the Pakistan-Malaysia Joint Commission (PMJC) commenced in Islamabad on Thursday, aimed at promoting bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, science and information technology, a Press release said on Thursday.

Among some of the other issues on the agenda relate to technical cooperation, education, agriculture, science and technology, petroleum and natural resources, water and power, population welfare, sports and culture.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, who co-chaired the meeting with his Malaysian counterpart, Syed Hamid Albar, said that Pakistan would welcome investment from Malaysia in its privatisation programme.

He said Pakistan could provide a hospitable investment environment for Malaysian manufacturers who were considering shifting labour-intensive industries overseas.

The Malaysian foreign minister, in his opening statement, said that the convening of the second PMJC, the first in the new millennium, was timely and opportunate.

Russian help in oil, gas sector discussed

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Pakistan, Edward Shevchenko, met the Federal Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources, Usman Aminuddin, on Thursday and discussed with him matters of mutual interest and bilateral cooperation.

Welcoming the Russian envoy Usman Aminuddin said that Pakistan was giving top priority to the speedy development of oil and gas sector and also briefed him about the various ongoing development activities, an official statement said.

Both leaders also explored possibilities of Pak-Russia cooperation in oil and gas sector which could be beneficial for the two countries.

CPI rises by 4.82pc

Consumer Price Index inflation increased further by 4.82 per cent during the first quarter of 2000-2001 over the corresponding period of last year, according to the price data released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics Wednesday.

A reversal of price trend, manipulation of figures notwithstanding, is evident from the data because in July-September, 1999, CPI had registered a drop of 3.31% as compared to the same period of 1998 when the CPI had gone up by 6.71 per cent. The data further indicate start of a new round of price increases after a period of relative stability following the end of the last round during which the CPI had surged deep into double digit.

Sindh opposes Thal canal

The Sindh government has opposed the construction of Greater Thal canal saying it will cause serious irrigation water shortage in Sindh and the provincial farmers will suffer as they did during kharif.

Underground economy expands to Rs1.25 trillion

The quantum of smuggling into Pakistan in recent years is said to have shot up to Rs125 billion on an annual basis with the underground economy expanding to as much as Rs1.25 trillion.

The size of the underground economy has jumped to over 55 per cent of the GDP in the last 20 years and the level of annual tax evasion in the meantime has been calculated to have gone up to Rs200 billion.

Surveys and research have established five main avenues of smuggling in Pakistan which include Afghan transit trade facilities, baggage facilities, duty free shops, diplomatic bonded warehouses and the long coastal belt.

IDBP revives sick units

The Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBP) has revived a number of sick and closed industrial units during last one year, making them operational.

According to IDBP announcement, most of these units are labour intensive and located in under developed areas of the country.

Recommencement of operation by these industrial units has created thousands of fresh employment opportunities.

These include a textile mill consisting of 25,000 spindles located near Multan. This mill was lying closed since 1993 and resumption of its operations has created over 800 direct jobs.