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Wed 5 Feb 2014 06:43 PM

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Pakistan hopes to sign cut-price gas deal with Qatar

Pakistan will send officials to Gulf state this month to ink LNG deal to help ease power supply crisis

Pakistan hopes to sign cut-price gas deal with Qatar

Pakistan will send officials to Qatar this month aiming to sign a liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal at a discount to help alleviate its power supply crisis, a Pakistani official said.

There have been widespread public protests in Pakistan recent years over frequent power cuts due partly to a lack of fuel.

Islamabad had hoped to address the problem with natural gas piped overland from Iran but that project remains stalled by US sanctions against Tehran. It is now looking to much more expensive LNG to alleviate its power problems.

"Qatar wants to sell at a market price and Pakistan is looking to get a discount," the official said. "We expect the deal to be signed this month for an amount of 3.5 million tonnes per year."

He said Pakistani energy officials would fly to Doha in late February hoping to convince Doha to sell them about 5 percent of Qatar's annual LNG output at below international market rates.

LNG currently trades in the Asian spot market at nearly $20 per million British thermal units .

Qatar, the world's leading LNG producer, is not known for offering discounts. Qatar has the capacity to produce up to 77 million tonnes per year of the super-cooled gas.

In the past Doha has refused to sell discounted gas even to Arab Gulf allies and surging demand over the last few years has given producers the upper hand in contract talks.

Pakistan has also not yet built a terminal to import LNG.

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