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Pakistan is opening new areas for oil and gas exploration through competitive bidding, which will push massive exploration activities in the country, said Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar on Monday.

During a meeting with the Japanese envoy, he said, “Pakistan has significant oil and gas reserves and opening of new blocks will not only increase the local oil and gas production but will also help save a lot of foreign exchange now used for its imports.”

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of Japan Kuninori Matsuda appreciated the government’s policies in the energy sector and extended invitation to the minister for the Asia Green Partnership Ministerial Meeting (AGPM) to be held in October 2021 in Japan.

Matsuda informed the energy minister that Japan has announced Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI), which encompasses $10 billion financial support for renewable energy, energy efficiency, LNG and other projects.

The financial aid is targeted at decarbonisation projects in Asia, such as renewable energy, energy saving and conversion to gas-fired power generation from coal-fired power to help with energy transition.

Azhar accepted the invitation to participate in AGPM, and said that international companies including Japanese firms must participate in the competitive bidding of oil and gas exploration blocks.

The minister also apprised the Japanese ambassador of the effective steps taken by the present government to substantially minimise the growth of circular debt from Rs538 billion in FY20 to Rs177 billion in FY21, which has greatly contributed to restoring the confidence of investors.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2021.

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