Oman ready to explore oil, gas in Pakistan

  • FM Yousuf asks Pakistanis to get benefit from Oman’s export processing zones for exports

Oman’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah on Monday said that his Arab state – after technical assessment – can help Pakistan to explore oil and gas that would change the fate of the people of the Islamic Republic in the South Asian region.

Addressing a press conference along with Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he said that Pakistan has huge untapped potential especial in oil and gas sector. “We can help Pakistan to explore oil and gas after technical assessment,” he said.

“There are huge potential of mutual cooperation and have variety of opportunities for each other,” he said, and pointed out that the emerging China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was another milestone for the mutual cooperation for establishing industrial zones.

He also highlighted the free trade agreement of his country with different countries which he said can be of great benefit for the Pakistani investors by using Omani export processing zones for onward exports to other countries.

Yousuf bin Alawi said that his country has some special services and technical know-how which Pakistan can take benefit of. He also said that Pakistan has huge untapped potential especial in oil and gas sector. “We can help Pakistan to explore oil and gas after technical assessment,” he said.

Earlier, Pakistan and Oman have discussed the ways and means to join hands and become a bridge for the countries and regions surrounding the two countries to promote greater regional connectivity and economic momentum for the ultimate objective of achieving stability, development and prosperity of our peoples.

Addressing the media, Adviser Sartaj said that both Pakistan and Oman enjoy unique geo-economic locations and Oman has been playing an important stabilising role in regional and international affairs. “We share perceptions on a number of important matters of mutual interest and issues related to promotion of regional peace and stability,” he said.

“We have agreed that there should be more regular political dialogue on such issues to promote these understandings even further,” he said, and maintained that Pakistan and Oman have also been traditional partners supporting each other on various international fora and lobby for each other’s candidatures in various international bodies.

He pointed out that Oman was Pakistan’s closest maritime neighbour, just 202 nautical miles away, sharing bonds of affinity with our region, particularly in Gwadar and Balochistan. “We have excellent opportunities to take advantage of the complementarities between our economies and the proximity that we enjoy,” he said.

He said that these commonalities were a great omen for forging a deeper political and economic partnership. Sartaj said that closer linkages between the two maritime interfaces, airports and seaports by availing the new opportunities offered by CPEC and the Gwadar Port project were also discussed.

It was agreed that the authorities concerned should have more regular interactions to suggest the best ways forward in making use of these opportunities. Matters related to enhancement of investment by private Omani companies and the necessary facilitation required by them in this regard also came up during the discussions.

The adviser said that the issues concerning enhancement of bilateral trade were also discussed. He was of the view that regular exchange of high level visits between Pakistan and Oman has strengthened the friendship between the two countries. “We look forward for more frequent exchanges between our parliamentarians in future,” he added.

Oman holds special significance for Pakistan in view of its geographical proximity and hosting of over 0.25 million Pakistani Diaspora. As such it is the third largest destination country for Pakistani workers, which themselves are the third largest expatriate community in Oman. “We hope that in future these bonds will strengthen further,” he said.

Adviser Sartaj said that he had discussed with the visiting foreign minister ideas to enhance existing cooperation between the two countries in all areas including culture, trade, commerce, investments, people-to-people contacts and regional connectivity. “We also reviewed the pace of work on early completion of a number of important MoUs and agreements under consideration on both the sides,” he said.

To a question about the border attack issue, he said that Pakistan has always used the diplomatic channels to resolve issues with its neighbours but the firing on Pakistan was the initiative of Afghanistan that necessitated to be retaliated. After the initial retaliation, other channels have also been employed to de-escalate the tension on Afghan border, he said.