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ISLAMABAD, May 26 (APP): Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the government had initiated different gas related projects worth Rs 800 billion, including setting up of LNG terminals and gas pipelines to meet energy needs of the country.

“By the grace of Allah Almighty, Pakistan will have surplus
power due to effective policies of the present government by 2018,” he said.

He was addressing the participants of the launching ceremony of the Universal Gas Distribution Company (Pvt.) Limited, the first- ever company which had secured Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import and sale licence from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to feed the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations here late Wednesday night.

The minister invited other private companies to come forward and get such licences as it would create an atmosphere of competitiveness in the market.

He said LNG was cheaper than any other fuel and it would end reliance of the CNG sector from the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to run their outlets.

Khaqan said it was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government that took a bold initiative to import LNG as the past governments could not take any practical step in this regard.

Terming gas ‘backbone’ for the energy sector, he regretted
that some elements were criticizing the LNG import and misleading the public about its benefits.

He highlighted importance of LNG, saying that it would have
great significance in strengthening the national economy even after arrival of gas through Iran-Pakistan and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan-India pipeline projects.

With the import of LNG, he said Pakistan that was importing
one million tonne fertilizer, now it had 1.5 million tonne surplus fertilizer.

All gas-based power plants are in running condition, CNG
sector was back to its business and industrial sector was getting full supply, he added.

The minister said the CNG sector was moving on the path of
revival gradually and hinted that in the coming years it would be preferred over petrol.

Commenting on performance of the PML-N government, Khaqan said during last three years the government had launched unprecedented development projects for the benefit of common man. “The three-year development, is much higher than the period from 1999 to 2013, if
compared,” he added.

The government, he said, was making progress in all key
sectors including energy, infrastructure development, social welfare projects like Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to mitigate sufferings of the common man.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Universal Gas Distribution
Company Ghiyas Abhullah Paracha thanked OGRA for warding the licence, saying that it would help revive the CNG sector.

He said the company would use network of SNGPL and SSGC to supply the commodity to CNG stations, which were suffering from the gas shortage issue.

He appreciated the government for taking along the private
sector in import of LNG providing them a level-playing field and making them self-reliant in meeting their needs.

Among others, Minister of State for Education Baligh ur
Rehman, Adviser to Ministry of Petroleum Zahid Muzaffar, President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdul Rauf Khalid, representatives of business community and OGRA attended the ceremony.