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(Bloomberg) -- Pakistan will focus on importing Qatari liquefied natural gas for its first terminal, which will be commissioned in the first week of March.

The government is finalizing a contract with Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of the super-chilled fuel, for 1 million to 2 million metric tons a year, Sheikh Imran ul Haque, chief executive officer of operator Elengy Terminal Pakistan Ltd., said Monday. It canceled expressions of interest from suppliers including BP Plc and Gunvor Group Ltd. for short-term deals that would have complemented the Qatari volumes, he said by telephone from Karachi, the nation’s biggest city.

“They decided to concentrate on Qatari volumes initially, and then decide how to proceed,” Haque said.

Pakistan is struggling to meet gas demand that is outpacing domestic production and has to turn to LNG imports and international gas pipelines, the International Energy Agency said in its medium-term natural gas outlook in June. The nation’s floating terminal will have a capacity of 3 million tons a year, Haque said.

The country plans to get long-term supply of 1 million to 1.5 million tons of LNG, Zahid Muzaffar, an adviser to Pakistan’s petroleum ministry, said by phone from Islamabad. He declined to comment on a specific deal.

Floating Storage

“It is all subject to what price we get,” Muzaffar said. “If we get a good price, we can increase the quantity.”

A floating storage and regasification unit will arrive in the first week of March, along with a commissioning cargo, which is likely to be supplied by Qatar, Haque said. Construction work at the terminal has been completed, he said.

Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. and Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co., the nation’s state-owned LNG producers, declined to comment on supplies to Pakistan when contacted by Bloomberg by e-mail and phone.

BP, Shell, Gunvor were among companies putting expressions of interest to the Pakistani government for short-term contracts to supply the terminal, Haque said in November.

Excelerate Energy LP, the largest operator of floating storage and regasification units, will provide the vessel, Haque said in a presentation at the CWC LNG conference in Paris in November.

--With assistance from Mohammed Aly Sergie in Doha and Kamran Haider in Islamabad.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in London at ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net Rob Verdonck, Dan Weeks

Bloomberg