Pakistan

‘Pakistan to complete IP gas pipeline, avoid fine’

344294_IP-gas-pipelinePakistani federal minister of petroleum and natural resources says his country seeks to avoid heavy fines by completing the multi-billion-dollar pipeline projected to carry natural gas from Iran.

Speaking at a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources in Islamabad on Monday, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stated that the Pakistani government is facing difficulties over the completion of the IP (Iran-Pakistan) gas pipeline as a result of US pressure.

During the meeting, Managing Director of the private Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) Mobin Saulat stated that the United States has made it clear that there is no shift in its opposition to the IP gas pipeline.

Saulat added that Iranian and Pakistani energy officials will hold a meeting later this month to discuss different technical aspects of the pipeline, and formulate strategies to advance the project.

The United States has long been threatening Pakistan with economic sanctions if Islamabad goes ahead with the IP gas pipeline project.

However, the government of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made it clear that addressing the country’s longstanding energy problems will be its top priority, and it has no plans to reverse the decision on the completion of IP pipeline.

According to the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan should start by December 31, 2014.

The two countries are also responsible for the completion of the pipeline project within their territories, and if Pakistan does not fulfill its obligation to complete the pipeline on its side by the end of 2014, it will have to pay a daily penalty of USD one million to Iran until completion.

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.

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