Minister: Gas Supply from IP Project Starts in 2 Years, Pakistan to Resume Work in October
Pakistani Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced that supply of gas to Pakistan from Iran would start in next 24 months, and Islamabad will resume construction of its share in the next three months.
“The Pakistani government is doing its best to complete its share of the Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline in the next two years,” Abbasi said on Friday.
He noted that Pakistan will resume construction of the IP project in October after signing of a historic deal between Tehran and the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) in Vienna on Tuesday.
Last week, a high-ranking Iranian parliamentary delegation visited Pakistan to follow up on Tehran-Islamabad cooperation on the construction of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
Mohammad Hassan Asafari, member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission that has sent the delegation to Islamabad, discussed energy ties, specially the gas pipeline project, with Pakistani Senator Nosrat Sadeq.
Senator Sadeq assured the Iranian side his country will expedite the construction of the Pakistani side of the pipeline, specially now that Iran and the world powers have struck a final deal.
In February, Pakistani Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan had not abandoned the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and the country would pursue it near future.
“A gas pipeline that is going to be laid from Gwadar to Nawabshah can be extended by 11 kilometers to Iran,” Dastgir Khan said.
In January, Tehran cautioned Islamabad over falling behind the schedule in fulfilling its obligations in a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project that is to take natural gas from Iran to Pakistan.
“Under a contract signed between Iran and Pakistan, the latter had to deliver its commitments by starting import of Iran’s gas supplies in December 2014, but it seems unlikely for Pakistan to take any (serious) measure before the end of 2015,” Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi said addressing a press conference in Tehran.
He further rejected rumors that Iran has decided not to fine Islamabad for its long delay in completing the project, and stressed that the terms of the contract about the fines that Pakistan should pay in case it delays fulfilling its undertakings are still alive and enforceable.
Under the Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) signed with Iran by the outgoing PPP government in 2009, the first flow of gas to Pakistan should have started by Dec 31, 2014.
In February, Pakistan sent a team to Iran to seek extension in the implementation of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.
Iran and Pakistan officially inaugurated the construction of the border part of the multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project in March, 2013.
The project kicked off in a ceremony attended by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his former Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the two countries’ shared border region in Iran’s Southeastern city of Chabahar.
The 2700-kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India has evaded talks. In 2011, Iran and Pakistan declared they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in the meeting.
Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.
The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.
According to the project proposal, the pipeline begins from Iran’s Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the South and stretches over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.