ASSOCIATED GROUP, ONE OF PAKISTAN'S PRE-EMINENT CORPORATE LEADERS LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS IMPORT TERMINAL AT PORT QASIM TO BE READY IN NOVEMBER 2008
KANWAL SALEEM, LAHORE
Aug 06 - 12, 2007
Born at Patna in India to a family of humble origins, there was looking back for Mr. Iqbal Zafaruddin Ahmed known as Iqbal Z. Ahmed who achieved landmark achievements right from start of his professional career.
An energy tycoon, he has already made his mark in the sector at local and international levels. To him, ability does not matter rather it is only diligence, good intentions, Grace of Allah Almighty and prayers of well wishers that matter.
Iqbal Z. Ahmed led his early life on the streets of Qilla Gujjar Singh, which helped him in growing up as a staunch Lahorite. It is for this reason he is a strickler for cultural values and societal norms. Being President of the Delhi-based, the World Punjabi Organisation, Pakistan Chapter, he is wedded to rich Punjabi traditions. Associated Group was founded in 1965 by the late Mr. Z.Z. Ahmed after his retirement as Deputy Inspector General of Pakistan Police.
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: Iqbal Z. Ahmed did his Senior Cambridge from Aitchison College, Lahore in 1962, Bachelor's in Economics, Government College, Lahore in 1966, Master's in Economics, Government College/Punjab University, Lahore in 1968. He attended Business Courses in Pakistan and abroad.
BUSINESS EXPERIENCE: Iqbal Z. Ahmed was Director/Partner, Associated Agencies in 1965, Director, Associated Electronics Ltd., in 1970, Director, Associated Tractors Ltd., in 1980 Director, Lub Gas (Pvt) Limited in 1989, Director, Mehran LPG (Pvt.) Limited in 1990, Chairman, Jamshoro Joint Venture Ltd., in 2002, Executive Director, Pakistan Power Resources in 2006. He is Chairman/ Chief Executive/Cofounder, Associated Group.
OTHER EXPERIENCE: 2004 to date Member, Endowment Fund, Government College, Lahore, 2002 to date Chairman, LPG Association of Pakistan, 1999 to date President, Pakistan Chapter, World Punjabi Organization, 1997 Chairman, National College of Arts Funds Raising Committee, 1996-97 Chairman, LPG Advisory Committee, 1996-todate Member, Endowment Committee, National College of Arts, 1992-94 Member, Board of Governors, National College of Arts, 1990-91 Member, Prime Minister's Committee on Self-Reliance, 1989 Chairman, Pakistan Tractor Manufacturers' Association, 1987-90 Guest Lecturer, Lahore University of Management Sciences, 1987-to date Guest Lecturer, Pakistan Institute of Management Sciences, 1982-83 Member, National Farm Machinery Advisory Committee to the Government of Pakistan.
AWARDS: Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed is the recipient of the Asian Award for performance of non-traditional exports from Pakistan.
In an Exclusive Interview with the PAGE, Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed said: Associated Group started as a small family concern. After five decades of hard work and dedication, it is today one of Pakistan's pre-eminent corporate leaders with a wide range of interest. ''We believe in corporate social responsibility, in giving back to the community and working on projects that benefit Pakistan's economy. We believe in profit, but profit from work that benefits humanity and helps economy'', he said.
He said that Associated Group pays great heed and the utmost significance to ensuring the highest levels of quality in business. The excellence of our brands and services and their ontime delivery have earned our products a sterling reputation in the market, he added. He stated that the Associated Group is one of the leading players in the energy sector of Pakistan. Its flagship company Jamshoro Joint Venture Ltd., is the single largest producer of LPG in Pakistan. The Group also holds Lub Gas and Mehran LPG which market LPG across Pakistan through a wide network of distributors, he added. Associated Group is also involved in the production of NGL/Naphtha, fabrication of LPG cylinders, construction of LPG filling plants, real estate development. Additionally, Associated Group also has interests in coal mining, power generation, urban design and architecture, he added. Associated Group is headquartered in Lahore and has operations in Islamabad, Karachi, Dhodak, Dakhni, Lakhra, Jamshoro, Quetta. The Associated Group team follows his example in ensuring the highest quality of products and services, timely deliveries and production flexibility in order to achieve complete consumer satisfaction, he added.
Talking about the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminal being set up by Associated Group and Pakistan Gasport Limited at Port Qasim on Built Operate & Transfer basis, Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed said it is located twin pier just north of Qutub point near confluence of Kadiro and Phitti creeks. China Harbour Engineering/ AdayardDubai are EPC contractors while Techno-Consult International and Mustang Engineering are local and foreign consultants respectively. He said the agreement of the project was signed on April 28 this year while project completion date is November 2008 when LPG production and first cargo will start.
Talking about current status of this project, Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed said project feasibility report was submitted to Port Qasim Authority (PQA) on January 12,2007 and now engineering design of jetty and submerged pipeline is in progress. Apart from this, re-gas and LPG extraction facility detail design is in progress in Houston by Mustang Engineering. Storage vessel lease arrangements is also in progress while LNG supply source and supply vessel arrangements are underway.
He said the re-gas platform fabrication contract is under finalization while banking consortium for project financing has already completed. The Associated Group is looking for purchasing the LNG from spot market. The long-term sourcing of LNG and understanding of contracts for LNG purchase, RLNG supply to utilities, RLNG transportation agreements and direct sales tolarge customers are project challenges, he said. Regarding Jamshoro Joint Venture Ltd., (JJVL), Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed said the Flagship Company of Associated Group, JJVL, is the single largest producer of LPG in Pakistan. JJVL's Extraction Plant at Jamshoro, Sindh produces about 500 metric tonnes of LPG per day and 120 metric tonnes of NGL per day.
In March 2005, JJVL added 50% to the local production of LPG and, at $40 million represents the largest investment ever made in the country's LPG sector. Production from JJVL has contributed significantly to making LPG supplies both available and affordable, he opined. He said the JJVL processed up to 220 million cubic feet of Natural Gas Condensate per day from Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) Limited's Badin Gas Fields for extraction of Butane, Propane and liquids. The Associated Group is in advanced stages of augmenting production at the Jamshoro Plant by tapping into oil and gas fields that have been declared uneconomic by the Government of Pakistan. The Hanover Company, Walters Power International and our American and Chinese partners are pursuing these business opportunities with us, he disclosed.
About the project of the Lub Gas (Pvt.) Ltd., project, Mr. Iqbal said the Lub Gas was established in 1989 and now it is today one of the premier LPG marketing companies of Pakistan. The Company receives LPG from PARCO, OGDC and JJVL and supplies the product to some 90,000 domestic users and 1,500 commercial users through a network of 300 distributors across the country. The Company maintains its own fleet of Bowzers for the transportation of LPG. It has recently brought in 75 Bowzers from China which will further enhance the availability of LPG throughout Pakistan, he added.
He stated that the Lub Gas has also imported 2,800 metric tonnes of LPG storage from Spain for an LPG filling, storage and export terminal at Karachi. In May 2005, Lub Gas signed an agreement with Pakistan Steel
Fabricating Company (Pvt) Ltd for the manufacturing of LPG cylinders of various sizes. Lub Gas and Pakistan Steel Mills also intend on setting up a fabrication unit for LPG storage tanks and Bowzers, he added.
Regarding Mehran LPG (pvt.) Limited, he said the Company receives LPG from PARCO, OGDC and JJVL and supplies the product to some 30,000 domestic users and 800 commercial users through a 100 network of 100 distributors across the country. The Company currently holds the chairmanship of the LPG Association of Pakistan, a grouping of all licensed LPG marketing companies of Pakistan, he pointed out.
Soft-spoken Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed said: ''We strive for unequivocal excellence in all aspects of business so that we are able to satisfy and, indeed, exceed the expectations of our shareholders, employees and consumers. We believe in science-based innovation and place great emphasis on technical expertise. We emphasise honesty and integrity. We believe in profit, but profit from work that benefits humanity and helps the economy. We believe in our vision and courage to lead the industry to higher standards'', he said. Praising the economic policies of the government, Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed said the governmental policies are conducive for investment both local and foreign. ''We are fortunate that the government supports business, understand businessmen problems and try to help them''.
To a query, he said energy business is a difficult business but a very good business. However, only those having competitive edge would be able to survive in this business, he added. To another question, he said the business of imported LNG is viable in Pakistan because it is cheaper from furnace oil. Regarding high prices of LPG, he said LPG is poor man's fuel, hence the government should look into local conditions and market reality while fixing the price.
Supporting the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, he said this project is vital for the three countries. 'Our commitment is to meet energy requirements. In a record period of five months, he said associated Group set up 136 MW power plant', he added. To another query, Mr. Iqbal Z. Ahmed, who is President, World Punjabi
Organization, Pakistan Chapter, said peace is vital for both India and Pakistan. Both the countries should make dedicated efforts for ensuring lasting peace in the region. He also supported exhibition of Pakistani Indian films in Pakistan.