The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has opposed a proposal to sell shares of Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) at a discounted price.
The proposal, tabled by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation, had demanded denationalisation of the state-owned oil company’s shares at discounted rates, said Petroleum Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry.
It had been suggested that the shares to be offered for privatisation be sold at a discounted rate of Rs165, he revealed.
“The basis of opposition was the fact that the ministry considered the oil company a healthy commercial organisation,” Chaudhry told The Express Tribune. “That chapter is closed now, so far as the ministry is concerned,” he said; citing the improving value of PPL’s shares as indicative of the profitability of the enterprise.
“Today, PPL shares are valued at Rs192 – they were worth Rs176 when privatisation was recommended by the Committee,” he explained.
Keeping in view its profitability, last week, PPL was allowed to enter into a joint venture for oil exploration in Iraq with Zenhua, a Chinese oil company of international repute, said Chaudhry.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet authorised PPL to submit its bids for a joint venture with Zenhua for oil exploration in Iraq. The ECC has directed PPL to approach the State Bank of Pakistan, in accordance with prescribed procedures, for further processing of its proposal for investment abroad.
“We have realised that people from all over the world are moving to Iraq for business opportunities in the oil sector. Why should we not move towards Iraq for oil exploration also?” Chaudhry remarked. “We are also entering into a joint venture for oil exploration in Iran,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2012.