Gazprom to help Pakistan build gas pipeline with Iran

Gazprom to help Pakistan build gas pipeline with Iran

Russian energy giant Gazprom came forward to assist Pakistan with the construction of its $1.5 billion gas pipeline project with Iran and agreed to fully provide both technical and financial help, Fars reported.

In recent talks in Moscow, Russia gave a go ahead signal to Pakistan for completing the project under a government-to-government arrangement. The Russian company Gazprom will arrange finances and construct the pipeline, including the completion of engineering and design of the project.

A spokesman in the Pakistani Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources said on Saturday that a high-level delegation held a meeting with the officials of Gazprom, which started on April 2, 2012 in Moscow for financial and technical assistance for this gas pipeline project.

He said due to positive negotiations between the two parties, the Russian company was ready to facilitate with three services, including engineering design, construction and financing for laying 781 kilometers (kms) long Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

He said the decision of seeking Gazprom help was the outcome of the meeting of the sub-committee formed by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

Gazprom expressed its interest to finance the IP gas pipeline project following Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar's visit to Russia in February 2012.

"There are chances the Pakistani government would likely relax procurement rules to facilitate the IP project," said Pak-USA Oil Private Limited, Texas Director Fazal Ahmad.

According to Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, the international bidding is necessary, however the matter will be put before the next ECC meeting in order to acquire positive results in this regard, he added.

Pakistan in order to reduce power shortages was importing fuel from various sources, including Iran that resulted in higher domestic oil prices besides crippling the country's industry, he maintained.

The project on completion would provide around 21.5 million cubic meters (7.8bn c/m) natural gas per year to Pakistan.

The maximum daily gas transfer capacity of the 56-inch pipeline, which runs over 900 kms of Iran from Assalouyeh in Bushehr province to the city of Iranshahr in Sistan and Balouchestan province has been estimated at 110 million cubic meters.

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