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Pakistan and Iran to speed up gas pipeline construction

Project initially had India on board and was scheduled to be completed by Dec 2014.

Written by PTI | Islamabad |
December 10, 2013 2:37:48 pm

Pakistan and Iran have decided to fast track the implementation of an ambitious multi-billion dollar gas pipeline project that will help meet some of the requirements of the energy-starved country.

Both countries have agreed to formulate a road map to address the challenges and have effective coordination and cooperation on this significant Project,a Pakistan Foreign Office statement said on Tuesday.

The announcement comes days after a breakthrough pact between Iran and global powers over its controversial nuclear programme.

The decision to fast track the Iran-Pakistan pipeline was an important outcomes of Monday’s meeting between Shahid Khaqan Abbasi,Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources,and his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zangeneh in Tehran.

It was also agreed that a meeting will be held shortly between the experts from both sides to review parameters for accelerating work on I-P Gas pipeline,the statement said.

The Pakistani delegation was in Tehran to discuss the IP Gas pipeline issue and to “reiterate Pakistan’s assurance to fulfil its contractual obligation as the Project is of immense importance to meet the energy  needs of the country”.

Iran has almost finished its work of the USD 7.5 billion project,but Pakistan has run into repeated problems in paying for the 780-kilometre section to be built on its side of the border.

The long-delayed project was inaugurated last March when Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad came to Pakistan.

Conceived in the 1990s as the “peace pipeline”,the project initially had India on board and was scheduled to be completed by December 2014.

US laws call for automatic sanctions on states and financial organisations that invest in Iranian oil and gas projects. The threat of sanctions has scared away many international investors.

However,the new deal between Iran and the western powers over its nuclear programme has raised hopes for the pipeline.

When the project is completed,Iran would export 21.5 million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan.

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