Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday said Pakistan would ask Iran to set a new timeframe for completion of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, Pakistani Business Recorder reported on Jan. 11.
Addressing a press conference, the minister reiterated that the government was making all-out efforts to resolve gas crisis, adding that gas consumers in Punjab will face a low gas pressure for upcoming two months.
He said the government is not going to increase gas prices for domestic consumers.
"We are making all possible efforts to resolve gas crisis but it will not overcome within days as these crisis has been hitting the masses over the past 7 years," he said.
Replying to a question regarding the completion of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, Abbasi said some barriers are still exist on the IP project due to restrictions imposed by the US and currently the government is not in a position to get rid of these restrictions.
He said Iran and Pakistan would soon hold talks on IP and both the countries would decide a new timeframe for the construction of the much-needed energy resource to Pakistan.
The stated that from January 2014, gas tariff for all the consumers, excluding domestic consumers, will go up.
In winter, gas supply to domestic sector is top priority of the government, therefore supply to CNG stations in Punjab will remain suspended from December 10, 2013 to February 28, 2014 and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa it will remain suspended from January 15, 2014 to February 28, 2014, Abbasi added.
He said during recent visit to Tehran, Iranian oil minister had said that they were unable to provide financing which they had committed in two tranches of $250 million each to lay Pakistan's portion of the gas pipeline.
"However, we are committed and lay IP gas pipeline," Abbasi said.
The Iranian side said they were ready to provide gas but had no financing for the project. He said Iran had laid pipeline by investing $2 billion to transport gas to Pakistan.
He added that the Pakistani side had informed the Iranian side that the US sanctions against Iran had affected IP gas pipeline project and no financier or contractor was ready to participate in the project. He said Pakistan had invited bids but no company participated in it.
He said there is no shortcut solution to the energy crisis and added that there is a need to work on all fronts to overcome the issue for the country's socio-economic development. However, he said the possible short-term solution could be the LNG project besides, ensuring improvement in the existing infrastructure to achieve good results of activities in the oil and gas sector.
The minister said that Iran's gas is 20 percent cheaper as compared to the current rate of LNG.
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