TEHRAN (FNA)- Completion of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project is one of the most important priorities of Islamabad’s economic development plans, Pakistan’s minister of petroleum said.
“Pakistan needs the (IP) project and wants to complete it,” Pakistani Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in Islamabad on Thursday.
He added that half of the IP project has already been completed, and the Pakistani government plans to undertake its share in the project as soon as US-engineered sanctions against Iran are eased.
On Tuesday, an Iranian firm voiced willingness to shoulder all the financing expenses of the IP gas pipeline, particularly the Pakistani part.
‘Express Tribune’ quoting sources said Pakistan has received the offer from the Iranian Jahanpars Engineering and Construction Company, which could undertake entire engineering, procurement and construction work and provide $1.8bln for the IP gas pipeline project.
The company has expertise in engineering works and has the capacity and reputation to engage in mega infrastructure projects.
However, the gas pipeline is a project between governments of the two countries, which will be implemented through their nominated entities. Therefore, Pakistan has asked the management of Jahanpars to contact government authorities in Tehran to press on with the plan.
“Working groups of the two countries will consider the financing and construction offer from the company,” a source said.
Last Saturday, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Ali Majedi said several European states have thus far voiced enthusiasm for participating in the implementation of the IP gas pipeline project.
According to the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan should start by December 31, 2014.
The two countries are also responsible for the completion of the pipeline project within their territories, and if Pakistan does not fulfill its obligation to complete the pipeline on its side by the end of 2014, it will have to pay a daily penalty of $1mln to Iran until completion.
Iran has agreed not to penalize Pakistan for missing the deadline.
The United States has been threatening Pakistan with economic sanctions if Islamabad goes ahead with the pipeline project.
However, the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made it clear that addressing the country’s longstanding energy problems will be its top priority, and it has no plans to reverse the decision on the completion of the pipeline.
Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.
The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.
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