Foreign companies who made seven gas discoveries in Pakistan, have committed an investment of $450m for the development of these fields.

Federal Minister for Petroleum Usman Aminuddin on Tuesday said Pakistan has already signed five gas sales-purchase accords with exploration companies while similar accords are expected to be signed in the coming two weeks.

The minister who was addressing a press conference after returning from Paris where he attended World Petroleum Conference was assisted by Secretary Petroleum Abdullah Yousaf and spokesman for the ministry Jehangir Bashar.

The minister said that under the agreed formula, the government will provide oil at $10 per barrel to the company. If the price of oil remained within $10 to 15, the price provided in Petroleum Policy '97 would be applicable.

If the price of oil in international market was more than $ 15, $20, 50% benefit will go to the producer and 50% to the government. In case the price of oil was $20 to $25, benefit to the producer will be 30 % and 70% will go to the government.

Similarly if the price of oil per barrel went beyond $ 25, benefit to the producer will be 20 % and the remaining 80 % will go to the government

The payment to the companies will be made partially in US $ and in rupees, keeping in view currency aspect of expenditure and the participation of local and foreign partner in joint venture. The minister said that efforts to open up prospective areas of in Balochistan for exploration activities have made progress. He said a plan had been submitted to the provincial government by a committee comprising minister for interior, minister for Petroleum and governor Balochistan.

The provincial government will be issuing No Objection Certificates (NOC) to those companies which were allotted blocks in Balochistan.

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