The fifth meeting of the Pak-US Energy Working Group, under the Strategic Dialogue Framework, was held today in Washington DC. Pakistan delegation was jointly led by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Water and Power and Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources and included senior officials from the two Ministries. Ambassador Carlos Pascual, the U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs led the U.S. side. Senior officials from the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, USAID, OPIC and other U.S. Agencies including the US Ambassador to Islamabad Richard Oslon assisted Ambassador Pascual.
Convened immediately after the official visit of the Prime Minister to Washington DC last month, the Working Group discussed the whole range of Pakistan-US energy cooperation to help Pakistan overcome its energy shortfall in line with the priorities identified by the leadership in their Joint Statement. The Working Group reviewed the existing and future cooperation in oil and gas as well as power sectors and also discussed the renewable energy potential in Pakistan. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and both sides renewed their commitment to work closely in future in diverse areas of cooperation including gas exploration, use of shale gas, power generation, distribution and management.
The Pakistan delegation also emphasized the need for enhanced U.S. assistance in the construction of large hydroelectric projects, particularly the Diamir-Bhasha, given its water storage and power generation related significance.
The Pakistan delegation also separately met with U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz where the two sides held wide ranging discussions on ways and means to further explore the potential offered by Pakistan’s vast energy resources. Secretary Energy appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan to overcome the energy crisis including retirement of circular debt and assured of continued U.S support and technical assistance to help Pakistan deal with the energy challenges.
Both sides agreed that Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and CASA-1000 projects would help regional integration and will greatly help in meeting the growing energy demands in the region.
The meeting of the Energy Working Group will be followed by Energy Trade Mission in Houston. The Pakistani delegation for the Trade Mission will be led by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The Minister will be joined by a group of senior private sector executives from Pakistan. The Energy Trade Mission is designed to interact with the US private sector and attract private investment in the development of oil and gas sector in Pakistan.
The next round of the Energy Working Group will be held in Islamabad next year.
November 12, 2013