Iran starts 2nd phase of IPI pipeline construction

Business Materials 14 July 2010 10:54 (UTC +04:00)

Iran has started construction of the second phase of IPI pipeline to deliver gas to Pakistan.

The Mehr News Agency quoted Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji as saying that, "Iran will invest 250 million dollars in the second phase of pipeline construction."

He went on to note that there are two possible ways for exporting gas to India.

"Exporting gas via a direct seabed route and transfer gas via Pakistan's border are the two possible ways," he said.

According to another Iranian Oil Ministry's gas exports authority India is considering importing Iran's natural gas through a direct seabed pipeline amid talks with New Delhi on another gas pipeline through Pakistan.

Asghar Soheilipour announced on Wednesday that India is currently conducting feasibility studies on the direct seabed route.

However, he advised India to reconsider joining the "Peace Pipeline" project, SHANA New Agency reported.

The official stressed that the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline would be the most economical and efficient export route.

Iran-India energy talks come after New Delhi's decision to pull out of the multi-billion dollar deal with Tehran last year, over pipeline security concerns.

Both India and Pakistan have rebuffed U.S. efforts to sabotage the pipeline project, under which Tehran agrees to deliver 21.2 million cubic meters (750 million cubic feet) of natural gas per day to Pakistan from 2014, Press TV reported.

Regarding Iran-Pakistan energy cooperation, Soheilipour said Pakistan's natural gas reserves have reduced during the past decades.

Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke announced that Washington had sought to dissuade Islamabad from signing the deal, amid plans to intensify pressure on Iran.

Pakistan shrugged off the call, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani saying Pakistan is "not bound to implement U.S. decisions."