Russia to lay Iran-India gas pipeline via Pakistan: Daily

IRNA — Russia has plans to export gas to Pakistan and India by laying an offshore pipeline from Iran, ignoring pressure from the United States that has fiercely opposed the building of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline for years, media reports said.

Pakistan’s leading English-language newspaper ‘Express Tribune’ reported that Moscow is looking to meet growing gas needs of Pakistan and India as an alternative because it fears it may lose energy markets in Europe following a long tussle with the United States and the European Union over of Ukrainian region of Crimea.

“Russia holds huge gas deposits in Iran and has offered Pakistan and India gas exports by laying an offshore pipeline that will pass through Gwadar Port,” a senior government official said while talking to the newspaper.

“Russia is even ready to finance feasibility study on viability of the offshore pipeline,” the official said, adding the plan was being discussed with Russian authorities. It was even taken up with a Russian team that visited Pakistan recently.

The official pointed out that the US knew about the gas reserves held by Russia in Iran, which was the reason why Washington opposed the IP gas pipeline.

The official revealed that India was also interested in purchasing gas from Russia through the offshore pipeline from Iran via Gwadar, believing it was a safe way for energy import.

Russia has been a big gas exporter to EU countries and Turkey since long and despite US anger the European bloc has continued to make imports to meet its domestic needs.

Russian gas exports touched an all-time high in 2017. According to its energy giant Gazprom, gas flows to Europe and Turkey, excluding ex-Soviet states, hit a new daily record at 621.8 million cubic metres.

India has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia for gas import. Separately, Pakistan and Russia have recently inked an MoU for gas supply under an inter-governmental agreement.

Pakistan and Russia have also agreed to award contract for building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline between Karachi and Lahore to a Russian company.