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Pakistan emphasizes greater US support for Diamer-Bhasha project

Pakistan has urged the United States on greater support in completion of the multi-billion dollars Diamer-Bhasha project in view of its tremendous water storage and power generation significance to the country. The Pakistani delegation, taking part in the fifth Energy Working Group meeting, emphasized the need for enhanced U.S. assistance in the construction of large hydroelectric projects, particularly the Diamer-Bhasha, the Pakistani embassy here said.

Convened immediately after the official visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Washington last month, the Working Group discussed the whole range of Pakistan-U.S. Energy Cooperation to help Islamabad overcome its energy shortfall in line with the priorities identified by the leadership in their Joint Statement.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, co-chaired the meeting with U.S. Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs Ambassador Carlos Pascual.

The Working Group reviewed the existing cooperation and explored future cooperation in oil and gas as well as power sectors and also discussed the renewable energy potential in Pakistan.

The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and both side renewed their commitment to work closely in future in diverse areas of cooperation including gas exploration, use of shale gas, power generation, distribution and management, the embassy said.

The Pakistani delegation also separately met with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, where the two sides held wide-ranging discussions on ways and means to further explore the potential offered by Pakistan’s vast energy resources. US. Secretary Energy appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan to overcome the energy crisis including retirement of circular debt and reassured of continued US support and technical assistance to help Pakistan deal with energy challenges.

Both sides agreed that Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and CASA-1000 projects would assist regional integration and will greatly help in meeting growing energy demands in the region.

The meeting of the Energy Working Group is being followed by the Energy Trade Mission in Houston. The Pakistani delegation for the Trade Mission is led by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The Minister will be joined by a group of senior private sector executives from Pakistan. The Energy Trade Mission is designed to interact with the US private sector and attract private investment in the development of oil and gas sector in Pakistan.

According to the embassy, the next round of the Energy Working group will be held in Islamabad next year.

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