Iran to export gas to Pakistan in next calendar year
Azerbaijan, Baku, Mar.3/ Trend F.Milad
Tehran will start exporting gas to Islamabad via peace pipeline in the next Iranian calendar year (to start March 20), the managing director of Iran's Gas Engineering and Development Company Ali Reza Qaribi said on Sunday.
Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji said last week that Iran plans to extend its 7th cross-country pipeline from Southwestern port city of Assaluyeh to the southeastern city of Iranshahr, and from there to the Pakistan border.
By extending the pipeline Iran can also supply gas to its eastern provinces, he explained.
An Iranian-Pakistani consortium will start work next week on the much delayed gas pipeline.
A Pakistani official confirmed that the start date is March 11th.
The date was announced after Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, held talks with Iranian officials in Tehran.
The pipeline is nearly complete on the Iranian side. But Pakistan has difficulties in financing the project.
Iran and Pakistan have devised a plan to finance the gas pipeline on Pakistan's side without the need for Islamabad to transfer funds to Tehran.
Based on the agreement, Tehran will grant a $500-million loan to Tehran-based Tadbir Energy Development Group, which is responsible for laying a pipeline in Pakistan under the multi-billion-dollar project.
In the first phase, Iran will lend 250 million dollars and extend the assistance later to 500 million dollars.
Based on the agreement that was reached in Islamabad last month, Pakistan will pay back Iran's $500-million loan after peace pipeline's inauguration.
The pipeline is projected to come on stream in 2014.
The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, projected to cost 1.2-1.5 billion dollars, would enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.
Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.