ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has given the go-ahead to the Ministry of Energy for kicking off negotiations with Nigeria to explore the possibility of cooperation in oil and gas production and trade including import of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) without going into the bidding process, officials say.
The ministry is seeking close partnership with energy-rich Nigeria in a government-to-government arrangement in order to encourage and promote investments in each other’s petroleum upstream and downstream industries.
Under a proposed deal, the two countries will exchange technical and other information as well as data on mutually beneficial projects and activities.
They will also ensure cooperation of academia and science institutes in the oil and gas field at national, regional and international levels.
At present, Pakistan is annually importing 4.5 million tons of LNG and the volume will shoot up to 9 million tons before the end of current calendar year. Projections show the country will annually need 20 million tons of LNG within three years and 30 million tons in five years. Although Nigeria LNG Limited’s production dropped 1.8 million tons in 2016, the company still kept its position as one of the top five LNG exporters in the world.
According to the International Gas Union’s World LNG 2017 report, Nigeria featured among top five LNG exporters by share between 2015 and 2016. The order of the top five exporters was Qatar, Australia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Indonesia.
As part of the proposal, Pakistan and Nigeria will explore the possibility of crude oil, oil products and LNG supplies and setting up refining facilities. They will share experience and assist in gas infrastructure development, gas consumption and optimum utilisation of flare gas.
The two countries will also conduct joint development studies, evaluate the possibility of well drilling, examine production data including samples of work areas and exchange results of studies.
They will undertake studies in collaboration with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Pakistan’s state-owned companies – Pakistan Petroleum Limited and Oil and Gas Development Company.
This will lead to joint ventures in exploration and production through separate agreements covering offshore areas and unconventional shale and tight gas reserves in onshore areas.
Pakistan and Nigeria will look at state-to-state joint venture opportunities in storage facilities for oil and oil products, marketing, distribution and retail.
They will develop human capital and conduct research and development work in hydrocarbon sectors of both countries through exchanges at various levels. They will also engage in geological studies in the mining sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2017.