U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson and Pakistani Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Abbasi led an oil and gas trade mission to Houston November 14-15.
During the two-day mission, nearly 30 private Pakistani companies, state-owned enterprises, and oil and gas officials met with leading U.S. energy companies to identify business opportunities, explain incentives offered by the Pakistani government, and attract investment from the private sector to Pakistan’s oil and gas sector. The trade mission delegation consisted of officials from the Pakistani Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, heads of seventeen leading Pakistani oil & gas firms, including both state-owned enterprises and private firms, and representatives from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Commerce.
Ambassador Olson commented, “This trade mission represents the strong emphasis the United States places on its trade and investment relationship with Pakistan, and U.S. support for stronger business to business ties between our two countries.”
The Energy Trade Mission was organized in conjunction with the bilateral U.S.-Pakistan Energy Working Group held on November 12 in Washington, the first of the working groups to meet under the reinvigorated bilateral Strategic Dialogue announced by Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Sharif in August. The mission follows Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s official visit to the United States on October 20-23, during which he emphasized the government’s focus on reforming Pakistan’s energy sector and increasing U.S.-Pakistan ties in the private sector.
These efforts build on the sustained and substantial efforts the United States, through USAID, has undertaken to help Pakistan meet its critical energy needs, including adding 1,000 megawatts since 2009 to Pakistan’s national grid–enough electricity for more than 16 million Pakistanis. Additionally, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, is in the process of negotiating a $95 million loan to a prospective 50 MW wind power plant in southeastern Pakistan’s Gharo-Keti Bandar Wind Corridor.