U.S. extends energy hand to Pakistan

Nov. 13, 2013 at 6:23 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it pledged to help Pakistan increase natural gas production from domestic reserves and develop wind energy to address electricity woes.

Carlos Pascual, U.S. coordinator for international energy affairs, met Tuesday in Washington with Pakistani Minister of Natural Resources Shahid Abassi and Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif.

"Ambassador Pascual announced technical assistance to help Pakistan increase production and maximize recovery from existing gas fields as well as to identify new areas for conventional gas development in order to help meet the country's increasing energy demand, especially for power generation," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The Pakistani government said its aging energy sector is leaving it short on electricity. Its consideration of an Iranian natural gas pipeline has frustrated a U.S. government targeting Iran's energy sector with sanctions.

The State Department said it was negotiating the terms of a $95 million loan to Pakistan to help it build a 50 megawatt wind power plant to help establish another layer of a reliable electricity.

Tuesday's meeting was part of a strategic energy dialogue announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his August visit to Pakistan.

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