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Sep 24 - 30, 2001

White oil pipeline

The investment of $32 million by Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) in white oil pipeline project (WOPP) will continue despite devastating attacks in the US last week. Even a possible retaliation by the US in Afghanistan any time would not affect the investment.

"Every thing is normal. The project is there. We will continue with the project. There is no cut back in investment programme," Chairman and Managing Director of Shell Pakistan Limited, Farooq Rehmatullah told.

Shell Pakistan has currently only four expatriates, while its two other companies have no foreigners. "Expatriates are still here and working normally. Only wives and their children of two foreigners have gone back to their homeland," he said.

On September 10, shareholders of SPL gave a go-ahead signal to the company to invest up to $32 million in the construction of the white oil pipeline project (WOPP). This will give Shell 26 per cent shares in Pak Arab Pipeline Company (private) Limited (PAPCO).

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $480 million and is expected to be completed by 2002. The planned financial structure is 75 per cent debt and 25 per cent equity. The 817-km long pipeline (26 inch diameter) connects Port Qasim to Mehmood Kot, and the initial design capacity of the pipeline is five million tons per annum.

Shell MD said that the white oil project would not be affected, as it was basically an infrastructure project and would have a long term implication for the country. He said the new pipeline would not only help reduce the cost of transportation of petroleum products, but would check the pollution and road hazards caused by the movement of 3,500 oil tankers.

He said the company had been making $20 million investment every year in Pakistan, and so far it had invested $150 million in the country's oil marketing and infrastructure.

Director Corporate Affairs, Shell Pakistan, Salimuddin Ahmed told from Islamabad that the white oil pipeline project would remain intact and the attacks in the US would not affect the company's investment programmes in Pakistan.

Gas supply plan from Miano may be put off

The gas supply plan from Miano may be put off following the exodus of expatriates from the Austrian company OMV. The supply of 87 mmcfd gas from the gasfield, near Sukkur, to the system of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited was due to start from next month.

A senior official in the SSGC on Thursday confirmed that the project of augmenting gas supply from the Miano would not remain on schedule. Post-September 11 situation, which has enveloped the whole region specially Pakistan and Afghanistan, has led to departure of a large number of foreign nationals working in various government and private projects in Pakistan.

However, it has not been confirmed that how many foreigners were engaged in the project and how many of them have left Pakistan and when would they return to their duties. He said the SSGC had got the impression from the OMV that gas supply from the field could not get under way in the given time frame. Initially the SSGC will receive 30 mmcfd from Miano, which would gradually be increased to 87 mmcfd.

EPB to promote small enterprises

Export Promotion Bureau will induct new and emerging exporters through a hand-holding exercise for capacity building of identified small and medium enterprises (SMEs) this year through product development, quality upgrade, cost reduction and sales promotion measures.

According to EPB on Thursday, professional private consultants will be engaged to provide advice and guidance to SMEs. The bureau will focus on certain sectors including fisheries, fruits and vegetables, processed foods, wooden furniture, leather goods, marble and granite, gems and jewellery, electric fans, cutlery and auto parts.

In this regard, EPB will provide financial support to SMEs in these export sectors. A target group of SMEs will be identified for finding in a pilot project programme. These SMEs would also be expected to contribute their own equity also.

Govt move to meet strategic oil needs

The government has decided to increase oil supply coverage to 45 days' equivalent consumption level to meet any future strategic needs, an official told.

Current oil storage capacity could meet only 19 days of national requirement, which was not a satisfactory level, given the fast-changing regional and international developments, the official added. However, he clarified that increase in storage capacity had nothing to do with situation arising out of expected action against Osama bin Laden.

From any standard and point of view, the strategic oil reserves must not be less than 30 days' equivalent, the official said. As this required sizeable investment, the government intended to increase the storage capacity in a period of two to three years, he added.

POF signs deals with 4 private cos

Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) on Saturday signed agreements with four private concerns for supply of different non-defence items worth Rs18.6 million.

The signing ceremony was held at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) where Chairman POF board Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum was present.

The agreements were separately signed between POF and Biaffo Industries of Hattar, Tusla Industries Islamabad, Almutaza Traders Islamabad and Habib Rafiq.

The first agreement worth Rs6 million was signed for supply of 200 tons of nitric acid, second worth Rs2.1 million for supply of 200 tons of brass rods, third worth Rs0.5 million for supply of hydrogen gas and the fourth worth Rs10 million for supply of commercial explosive for Kohat tunnel.