Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline could end Pakistan’s energy crisis

IRNA – The completion of a gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan can help Pakistan to meet its growing energy demands ending ongoing gas crisis across the country.

The Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline, also known as the Peace Pipeline, would deliver around one billion cubic feet/day of natural gas from Iran to Pakistan. The IP project was to be completed by December 2014 and come on stream from January 1, 2015.

Pakistan has many options to address its energy crisis, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), CASA-1000 and Qatar LNG projects to name a few.

But one of the most important projects that the Pakistani government needs complete is the Iran-Pakistan gap pipeline project or peace pipeline. Experts say that it is not simply a gas pipeline, but an energy lifeline for Pakistan.

At a time when Pakistan is facing acute energy crisis, the IP project has assumed extraordinary significance.

Meanwhile gas fuel stations in Pakistan’s financial hub Karachi have reopened after remaining closed for six days due to a crippling supply shortage in the province of Sindh.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the federal government was doing injustice with the province, criticising the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government over the handling of gas outage.

Demand for natural gas in Pakistan has exceeded supply. Pakistan’s domestic gas production, currently at about four billion cubic feet per day (CFD), will fall to two billion CFD by 2020 when demand will rise to eight billion CFD, according to a report published by Pakistani media.

Talking to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) former finance minister of Pakistan Dr. Salman Shah said that current situation of gas in the country is primarily a lack of planning to meet the expected demand which always grows up in the winter time.

Senior economist said the companies which are supposed to deliver these products have failed to do so. He was of the view that a timely import of gas was not arranged and that is causing the problem.

“If Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline was there, then this shortage would have not been possible; it is important that the IP gas pipeline be completed,” he said. The expert said a good source of energy should be provided to the people of Pakistan in form of the IP.

Earlier Pakistan Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said Pakistan was fully committed to implement IP gas pipeline project without any foreign pressure.

The ongoing gas shortages throughout Sind Province has caused widespread disturbance in the lives of the people. Prime Minister Imran Khan has already ordered the formation of an investigation committee to find the reasons behind the shortages and pinpoint those who failed to take timely action.

The shortage has affected industry as well as power production. It has led to a decline in production and timely delivery of products to foreign markets evoking strong reaction from business community’s professional orgnisations.

Talking to IRNA, editor of leading Urdu news daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Javed Siddiq said that ongoing gas crisis in Pakistan is because of growing population in the country.

He added the demand for consumption has constantly been growing in the country, whereas the new gas fields have not been found and exploration of gas in the country has been impeded.

“There is a huge gap in supply and demand in the country,” the analyst said. He added there is gas shortage in Pakistan particularly during December and in the winter months.”

The journalist commenting on the IP project said sooner this project is completed the better because Pakistan needs gas not only for domestic consumption but also to run the industry.

Javed Siddiq added economy of Pakistan also needs fuel and for that purpose it is very important that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline should be completed.

He stated that the agreement has been done and for the last ten years this project is in limbo, so it must be started immediately which is in the interest of Pakistan and its people. “It will also give a big boost to the economy of Pakistan if it is completed in a short period of time,” the analyst believed.

Meanwhile Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar has traveled to Qatar to participate in Doha forum. During the visit he met with Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and also had a detailed meeting with the Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi.

Earlier there were reports that Pakistan is mulling to bring Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) worth $2 billion from Qatar on a one-year deferred payment.

At present, Pakistan is importing $4-5 billion worth LNG from Qatar to the country. It is relevant to mention that Islamabad has been importing LNG from Qatar under a 15-year agreement.

However the local media had once reported that new Pakistani government was considering renegotiating the LNG import deal with Qatar, as criticism of the liquefied natural gas import and processing terminals mounts within the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.