Pakistan is seeking to start liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Algeria and a plan to build a regasification terminal in Karachi was discussed with the North African country, officials said.
Algeria exports most of its LNG to Europe, where demand is expected to fall with the new Medgaz pipeline from Algeria is scheduled to start pumping to top Europe's LNG importer Spain. Another Algeria's customer, the United States, has lost interest in the imported gas because of booming North American shale gas production.
"Pakistan is interested in Algerian LNG through the construction of a gas terminal in Pakistan," the official APS news agency quoted Algerian Trade Minister Mustapha Benbada as saying.
Benbada was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of a joint commission on bilateral trade ties, which he co-chaired with Pakistani Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Hussain Asim. Benbada said Pakistan had held talks on the project with Algerian counterparts at the energy and mines ministry.
The head of the oil department at Pakistan's Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry, Hamid Khan, said his country wants to buy LNG and is seeking Algerian expertise to construct the regasification terminal.
"It's a very important project for us. We will send a written proposal with a feasibility study of the project to the Algerian government to study it," APS quoted him as saying. He said Pakistan would start importing LNG after building the terminal, which is expected to cost around $1.5 billion.
Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Youcef Yousfi has said his OPEC member nation was considering looking for buyers in Asia, where Qatar holds a dominant market share. Algeria supplies about 20 percent of Europe's natural gas needs.
Its LNG output has dwindled over the last few years, but state-owned energy group Sonatrach said a new unit with a capacity of 5.4 million tonnes per year would come onstream in July. A second with a capacity of 7.4 million tonnes per year is due to start operations in 2013.