Islamabad - The Fauji Foundation has shown interest in the purchase of 10 percent share in the Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL), saying that being a majority share holder, it has the first right to purchase the asset, official sources told The Nation on Tuesday.

Out of its 20 percent share in Mari Petroleum, the government wants to sell 10 percent in the stock exchange, but the Fauji Foundation has expressed its interest.

As per details, the Mari Petroleum Field was originally owned by Pakistan Stanvac Petroleum Project (PSPP), a joint venture of Government of Pakistan with 49 percent and Esso Eastern Incorporated (EEI) with 51 percent of ownership interests. The production started in 1967.

In 1983, the Fauji Foundation acquired the entire 51 percent share of EEI. The company then commenced business as MPCL in December 1985.

MPCL, formerly known as Mari Gas Company Limited, manages and operates the country's largest gas reservoir in terms of current reserves at Mari Field, district Ghotki, Sindh.

The company was renamed as Mari Petroleum Company Limited in November 2012. MPCL is a public listed company with an authorised and paid up capital of Rs 2,500 million and Rs 367.5 million, respectively. The Fauji Foundation’s equity share in the company is 40 percent, while the Government of Pakistan, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited and the general public, each having 20 percent share in the company.

MPCL, which had started exploration work in 2001, has been allocating $20 million per annum for its planned exploration programmes.

The company operates in six exploration blocks: Ziarat, Karak, Sujawal, Sukkur, Hanna, Harnai and two Development and Production Leases: Mari and Zarghun South.

It is also a partner in a joint venture of six non-operational blocks: Hala, Dadhar, Kohat, Bannu West, Kohlu and Kalchas.

MPCL has the potential to produce 603 million standard cubic feet (MMSCFD) gas per day from its different reservoirs, and is currently producing more than 500 MMSCFD gas.

The sale of the government shares in Mari Petroleum Limited is taking place under the policy of the present government. The Fauji Foundation has further asked the government that in case it could not acquire the share, then being a majority shareholder in the company, it must be ensured that the managing director and CEO of the company would be from the Foundation, the source informed.

It is pertinent to mention here that the incumbent CEO of the company also belongs to the Fauji Foundation.