Iran, Pakistan businessmen meet in joint forum

Iran says ready to export gas to Pakistan

Iran said on Saturday that it is ready to provide natural gas to Pakistan within months through a key pipeline that has been the focus of energy talks between the two countries for years now. 

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told reporters in Islamabad that a pipeline which has for long been projected to take gas to Pakistan has already been completed in the Iranian side.

Rouhani said this has put the Islamic Republic in a position to provide its eastern neighbor with natural gas within only a few months.

“Iran has constructed this gas pipeline up to the border of Pakistan and we are ready to deliver the gas to Pakistan at our borders. We have almost completed our share,” Reuters quoted Rouhani as saying. “It is now up to Pakistan to initiate work on its side.”

While Iran has completed its part of the gas pipeline project with a total investment of above $2 billion of investment, Pakistan has fallen behind the target to take delivery of gas, initially scheduled for 2014.

The joint project was launched in 2010 and aims to construct 1,800 kilometers (over 1,100 miles) of pipeline from Iran to Pakistan.

Iran plans to deliver 21.5 mcm/d of gas to Pakistan through the project.

Elsewhere in his remarks, President Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic was also interested in connectivity between Pakistan’s southern port of Gawadar and the Chabahar port in southeast Iran through roads and shipping lines.

He said Iran was already selling 1,000 MW of electricity to Pakistan and would increase this up to 3,000 MW, Reuters added.

Speaking at a business conference with Rouhani earlier in the day, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and Iran had signed an agreement to increase annual trade volumes between the two countries to $5 billion by 2021, the report emphasized.

Trade between Pakistan and Iran fell to $432 million in 2010-11 from $1.32 billion in 2008-09, according to the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

Energy-starved Pakistan suffers about 12 hours of power cuts per day and is keen to import Iranian oil, gas, iron and steel.

Iran is interested in Pakistani textiles, surgical goods, sports goods and agricultural products.

By Press TV