Pakistan looks for ‘umbrella’ energy pact with China

Islamabad, September 20 :

An ‘umbrella’ energy pact and opening of the Gwadar sea port in Balochistan are on top of the agenda as the Pakistan government prepares for Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit in November.

The term ‘umbrella’ is not elaborated, but media reports quoting unnamed official sources indicate that it would cover both the oil/gas and nuclear energy sectors.

Pakistan has made no secret of its anxiety to get a nuclear energy deal that would include the supply of nuclear power plants by Beijing, ahead of the India-US deal currently undergoing the legislative processes in Washington. The Nation newspaper reported that China would also invest $200 million in a cement factory with a capacity of 5,000 tonnes a day at Chakwal in Punjab.

A delegation from Xinjiang is visiting to discuss the augmentation of Pakistan’s oil refining capacity. Federal minister Amanaullah Jadoon said, “Pakistan-China cooperation in the oil and gas sector is rapidly growing for mutual advantage.”

Senior level official sources requesting anonymity told The Nation that Pakistan and China were currently exchanging technical teams.