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Showing posts from April, 2019

Blowout Concerns Delay Confirmation of Pakistan Offshore Oil Discovery

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Blowout concerns have stopped offshore drilling in Pakistan yet again. It was underway to confirm discovery of oil and gas in at Kekra-1 well in G-bloc with pre-drill estimate of over 1.5 billion barrels of oil. It was scheduled to restart on April 20, 2019 after pause of 12 days, according to Pakistani media reports. Now it is delayed until the blowout preventer equipment is fixed and ready to use again.


Blowout Preventer Problem: 

The drilling was stopped on April 8 at the depth of 4,810 meters for cementing and casing process which took almost 12 days to complete. Now there are concerns about the proper functioning of the blowout preventer (BOP). Once the BOP repair is completed, Mobile Exxon and ENI as joint operators at Kekra-1 well will resume drilling of the remaining 650-800 meters.

Time required to drill the remaining 650-800 meters will depend on the rate of penetration (RoP).  Pakistan petroleum ministry officials were quoted by The News as saying that they "don’t yet h…

State of Pakistan's Relations With Iran and India

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What does Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan hope to accomplish during his Iran visit? What are the key issues bedeviling Iran-Pakistan relations? Cross-border terrorism alleged by both? Pakistan's relations with the Gulf Arabs? CPEC? Afghanistan? Gwadar? Chabahar? Indian RAW's use of Iran to launch terror attacks in Pakistani Balochistan? Who calls the shots in Iran? President Rouhani or the hardline Iranian Revolutionary Guard leaders?



Why is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi continuing to threaten Pakistan with use of force, including use of nuclear weapons? Is this part of his election campaign to appeal to his base? Or will this intimidation go beyond elections if he wins a second term? Is Pakistan Prime Minister's hope of better ties with India under BJP just a mirage? Are analysts like Moeed Yusuf right about India waiting it out to achieve overwhelming superiority to eventually dictate term to Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these q…

Asad Umar's Exit: Causes and Effects on Pakistan Economy

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Who removed Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar and why? What was expected of him? Did he fail to deliver it? What are the qualifications of Dr. Hafeez Shaikh who has been picked to replace Asad Umar? Is he better suited to deliver a deal with IMF and other international financial institutions?


What are Pakistan's biggest economic issues now? Budget deficits? Trade deficits? Current account imbalances? Lack of exports? Lack of domestic savings and investments? Low FDI? What must the new economic team do to address short term and long term problems with Pakistan's economy that are forcing the nation to seek 13th IMF bailout in last 40 years?


ALKS host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/Axo8V-HNuHA






Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan's Debt Crisis

Can Pakistan Avoid Recurring IMF Bailouts?

Pakistan is the 3rd Fastest Growing Trillion Dollar Economy

CPEC Financing: Is China Rippin…

OPEN Forum 2019: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Summit in Silicon Valley

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OPEN Forum 2019 drew hundreds of Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans to Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley on Saturday April 20, 2019.  This year's conference featured a keynote by Karachi-born Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder of Careem ride-hailing service. In addition, there were sessions on artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, financial technology and entrepreneurship.  Careem has recently been acquired by Uber for $3.1 billion.  The attendees included entrepreneurs, technologists, business executives, investors, lawyers, accountants and others who make up the tech startup ecosystem of Silicon Valley.

Careem Co-Founder's Keynote:

Mudassir Shiekha, born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, gave the morning keynote. He talked about his personal and entrepreneurial journey and the challenges he faced along the way. His first hand experience of riding roof-tops of buses in Karachi stayed with him and eventually led to the choice of starting up a ride-hailing servi…

Current Debt Crisis Threatens Pakistan's Future

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Pakistan is battling massive twin deficits, deteriorating foreign currency reserves, low exports, diminishing tax revenues, a weak currency, unsustainable external debt payments, and soaring sovereign debt. This crisis has forced the country to seek IMF (International Monetary Fund) bailout, the 13th such request in Pakistan's 72 year history.

Pakistan's debt repayment costs rose to $5.4 billion for first half of fiscal 2019 ( July 2018-Dec 2018), up from $7.5 billion for the entire fiscal 2018 (July 2017-June 2018), according to the State Bank of Pakistan. At this rate, the total debt service cost for current fiscal 2019 will exceed $11 billion, adding to the nation's debt crisis.


This $11 billion debt service cost will add to the projected trade deficit of nearly $40 billion for the current fiscal year. How can Pakistan fund this balance of payments deficit of about $50 billion? Remittances of $21 billion in current FY2019 from Pakistani diaspora are expected to reduce i…

Karachi's NED University Ranked Among World's Top 200 For Impact

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N.E.D. University of Engineering and Technology (NEDUET) has been ranked among the world's top 200 universities for "impact" by Times Higher Education. The institution located in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi is ranked among 101-200 in the world. NEDUET also tops the rankings for impact among Pakistani universities included in THE 2019 rankings. The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide "comprehensive and balanced comparisons across three broad areas: research, outreach, and stewardship".

Among other institutions of higher learning, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) Institute of Technology and University of Veterinary Sciences Lahore are ranked among 200-300 while COMSATS and Government College University Lahore are among 301+.



Of the 17 UN SDGs, THE has evaluated university performance on 11 of them in…

Pakistan State Bank Targets Digital Currency by 2025 and Fully Digital Economy by 2030

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A top official of the State Bank of Pakistan, the nation's central bank, announced that the institution aims to issue a digital currency (Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC) by 2025, according to media reports.   Speaking at the launch of regulations of Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), central bank officials said that EMIs will be non-bank entities to be licensed by the central bank to issue e-money for the purpose of digital payments.  Pakistan's finance minister Asad Umar and the central bankers said they are targeting Pakistan's economy to go fully digital by 2030.

“As we move towards digital economy, it is absolutely important to ensure cybersecurity,” said the finance minister, according to Dawn newspaper.  Mr. Umar added that even a single high profile incident could cause irreparable loss of confidence to the economy and the banking system.

Deputy Governor Jameel Ahmad of the State Bank of Pakistan told the audience at the EMI launch that the central bank is…