Pakistan head to discuss privatization with Russia's Putin

By an OGJ correspondent

KARACHI, Jan. 20 -- Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is likely to discuss the privatization of government-controlled entities in that country's oil and gas sector—including Oil & Gas Development Corp. Ltd. (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. (PPL), Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd. (SNGPL), and Sui Sorthen Gas Co. Ltd. (SSGCL)—with Russian authorities during his upcoming 3-day official visit to the Russian Federation scheduled to begin Feb. 4 at the invitation of Russian President Vladmir Putin.

According to a government official, the Pakistan Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has presented a briefing to the president and identified the areas in the petroleum sector that can be discussed in his upcoming visit to Russia for enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

The official said that cooperation between Pakistan and the former Soviet Union regarding hydrocarbons dates back to 1960 when the premier exploration and production company OGDCL was established with the collaboration of both countries. Pakistan established Oil & Gas Development Corp. (OGDC) in 1961 as a statutory corporation to undertake exploration and development of oil and gas resources.

Now, the government has started the privatization process for sale of 51% shares in OGDCL from July 22, 2002, and Russia will be the best option for the process as its founder and have the knowledge about the company far better than any other foreign country, the official maintained.

In addition, OGDCL's president also will discuss the privatization of PPL, SNGPL, and SSGCL with Russian authorities, the official maintained.

The official further said that the president also was informed that Russian help can be obtained in a joint venture in the exploration of oil and gas as the Russian geoscientist in the academic and research organizations have thorough knowledge of Pakistan's geology, hydrocarbon potential, and exploration.

Their expertise can be utilized in joint ventures with Pakistan E&P companies in the development of undeveloped oil and gas fields and to increase the production from shallow oil and gas fields where deeper potential has not been explored.

The official further said that there is a lot of scope to establish joint ventures in manufacturing for special alloy steel pipes, drill sting, drill collars and high pressure pumps for use in the oil and gas activities.

The Russian firm OAO Gazprom has already signed a memorandum of understanding for conducting a prefeasibility study for shallow water for the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project and cooperation in other areas of oil and gas sector, the Russian officials said.

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