European firms willing to help Pakistan pipeline project

Tehran, Dec 21, IRNA – Deputy Oil Minister for International and Trade Affairs Ali Majedi said on Saturday that Pakistan has not taken any action for laying pipeline, however, several European companies have announced that they are willing for partnership.

Majedi told a press conference that Iran has completed the piping project on Iranian territory to the border line, but, Pakistan is lagging behind the agreement signed in June 2009 to complete the pipeline toward Iranian border.

He said the pipeline set on Iranian territory originated from South Pars and continued to the Pakistani border, stretching on an area of 2800 km, out of which 1,227 km lie in Iran and 781 km must be in Pakistan.

He added that 907 km of which go up to Iranshahr and the rest up to the border, being 320 km long. This segment of the project has shown about 32 percent progress, he added.

The official said that Iranian and Pakistani oil ministers in their recent meeting discussed ways and means to implement the project, while criticizing Pakistani government for failure.

Based on the deal, Pakistan government should have finished the project by December 31, 2014, resuming gas exports, otherwise, Iranˈs right for receiving losses would have been reserved.

Majedi added that in recent talks between Iranian and Pakistani oil ministers there was no word on price of the gas due to be exported to Pakistan and the two sides only touched on Pakistan delay.

Majedi said that dlrs two billion investment will be made in the peace gas line.

ˈIran has thus far made dlrs two billion investment in the peace pipeline project and one billion dollar more is still needed in order for its accomplishment.ˈ

Should Pakistani government start from today to lay the line, it would take about four years, said the official, adding that this is while, based on the contract one more year remains to the deadline given to Islamabad to lay pipeline.

In his recent meeting with the Pakistani counterpart, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh suggested Islamabad to seek help of a third country to finish the project, according to Majedi.

According to the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan envisaged for 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 dlrs one million 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 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 completion of the pipeline.



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