Negotiations on Iran-Pakistan gas project likely next month

Tasnim – Iran and Pakistan may start a new round of talks on how to advance a long-awaited gas pipeline project between the two countries in September, an official said.

“Now elections in Pakistan are over, and most likely the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) headed government is going to take the charge,” the Pakistani official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, The Nation reported.

“Both sides would put their heads together to find out the way out how to proceed for implementation of the project in the presence of the US sanctions. So under the new scenario, the top mandarins of both countries would also work out new timelines for the project’s completion,” he said.

According to the official, Iran and Pakistan have already agreed to open up and review the gas sales- purchase agreement (GSPA) inked between the two in 2009.

Iran has repeatedly called on the energy-starved Pakistan to initiate work on its part of the gas pipeline, but those pleas have fallen on deaf ears except for pledges from some Pakistan officials that they were still committed to the project.

Tehran is already selling 1,000 megawatts of electricity to Pakistan and plans to increase this up to 3,000 megawatts, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The energy crisis in Pakistan, which suffers about 12 hours of power cuts a day, has worsened in recent years amid 4,000 megawatts of electricity shortfall. The nation of 190 million people can only supply about two-thirds of its gas needs.