Iran remains Pakistan’s only hope for gas supply

Iran remains Pakistan’s only hope for gas supply

Iran, Tehran, March 29

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

Importing gas from Iran is the most reasonable solution for Pakistan to meet its domestic consumption, Managing Director of Iran's Gas Engineering and Development Company Alireza Gharibi said March 29, according to Iran's ILNA News Agency.

"We have so far completed laying 123 kilometers of pipeline on the Iranian soil and just the Iranshahr part is left," he said, adding that a total of 300 kilometers of pipelines is yet to be laid in both sides.

"If Pakistan starts construction of its share, then Iran can start pumping gas to Islamabad by December," he explained.

"In case Islamabad fails to construct its share, we need to use our pipes elsewhere," Gharibi said.

He went on to note that by laying Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Tehran is mainly investing to expand its national gas network and only 30 percent of the expenses are related to the exports project.

Iranian Oil Minister Hamidreza Araqi said on February 22 that the Peace Pipeline will be stretched to China through Pakistan, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported.

"Iran also plans to export LNG to China," he explained.

Araqi further pointed out India and Turkey as attractive markets for Iranian gas.

"Iran pursues two scenarios to export natural gas to Europe," he said, explaining that the first proposed route is through Turkey, and the second one through Iraq and Syria.

Pakistan's ambassador to Iran Noor Muhammad Jadmani rejected on February 9 the western media outlets' reports on Islamabad's unwillingness to continue with the Peace Pipeline project, Iran's ISNA News Agency reported.

"Islamabad faces some obstacles in implementing the project, but it feels obliged to finish it," he said. "Iran and Pakistan have deep and close relations, and our goal is to enhance these relations."

Iran rejected Pakistan's request for supplying gas at discount rate in December.

The request was made by Pakistan's Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during his visit to Tehran.

Reducing the price of the gas to be delivered by the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, as well as extending time for building Pakistan's side of the pipeline, and financing about $500 million by Iran were suggested by Khaqan Abbasi in a meeting with Iranian officials.

He said that Pakistan is committed to building a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline from neighboring Iran, but the threat of international sanctions makes the task difficult.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh had previously said he is not optimistic about Tehran's gas exports to Islamabad.

Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) on November 28 quoted Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as saying that Pakistan will find an opportunity to complete the proposed gas pipeline project within a year.

"I think trade restrictions will be lifted on Iran following agreement between Iran and world powers," he said.

Abbasi said Pakistan has intensified its efforts to realize the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

The Peace Pipeline project was originally initiated between Iran and Pakistan.

Later India expressed an interest in joining this project.

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is projected to cost $1.2-1.5 billion, and will allow exporting 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.

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