Islamabad asks Tehran to finance $2bln in Pakistani side of IP gas pipeline

TEHRAN (FNA)- Pakistani Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked Iran to finance $2 billion in the construction of Pakistan’s side of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.

“All these issues will be discussed in a meeting which we have requested, but so far there is no reply from the Iranian side,” Abbasi said Wednesday.

The Pakistani petroleum minister said preparatory work was complete, but they had asked Iran to provide $2 billion for the construction work.

The Iranian side of the $7.5-billion project is almost complete, but Pakistan has run into repeated problems to pay for the 780 kilometer (485 mile) section to be built on its side of the border.

Last month, Pakistani media reported that Iranian and Pakistani oil officials planned to discuss new ways of financing Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline during the visit of Abbasi to Tehran in mid-October.

“We are going to Iran to renegotiate financing of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project and will also request Iranian authorities to extend the deadline of IP gas project from December 2014 to a mutually agreed time frame,” the Islamabad-based newspaper ‘Business Recorder’ quoted Pakistan’s Petroleum Ministry officials as saying.

The ministry officials added that the Pakistan minister is to visit Iran on October 10.

The Pakistani delegation will also deliberate with Iranian authorities on the possibility of fully financing the project, the ‘Business Recorder’ added.

Iran and Pakistan officially inaugurated the construction phase of a gas pipeline project in March which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to the energy-hungry South Asian nation.

The project kicked off in a ceremony attended by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his former Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the two countries’ shared border region in Iran’s Southeastern city of Chabahar.

The 2700-kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India has evaded talks. In 2011, Iran and Pakistan declared they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in the meeting.

Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.

According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran’s Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.

By Fars News Agency


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