|Iran will not sell gas to Pakistan at discount rate: oil minister||
TEHRAN – Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has announced that the country will not supply Pakistan natural gas at a discount price.
He made the announcement on Sunday, two days after the Pakistani government asked Iran to reduce the price of the gas to be delivered by the Iran-Pakistan pipeline under the price renegotiation clause of the bilateral sales and purchase agreement to bring it at par with the rates agreed with Turkmenistan, the Mehr News Agency reported.
The gas transfer contract with Pakistan has been finalized, he said, adding that Iran is committed to its contractual obligations.
On Friday, the Pakistani prime minister’s adviser on petroleum, Asim Hussain, said that Iran has to reduce gas prices and come down to the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline) rate. The TAPI pipeline is a proposal for a project.
He confirmed that Iran’s Tadbir Energy and Pakistan’s Interstate Gas Company have not yet been able to sign an agreement for the construction of Pakistan’s 781-kilometer section of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline by the Iranian firm because discussions required further consultations. “The agreement will be signed before February 27,” Hussain said.
Iran plans to invest $500 million to extend financial and technical assistance for laying the Pakistan section of the gas pipeline between the two countries.
The Iranian government will provide a loan of $250 million to Pakistan and another $250 million will be arranged through Iranian commercial banks for engineering, procurement, and construction works on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.
Pakistan is scrambling to secure funds for the pipeline project amid U.S. opposition in the wake of the sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.
According to a plan that has been proposed, Pakistani and Iranian companies would form a joint venture to lay the pipeline.
Earlier, China and Russia had committed to financing the pipeline if they were awarded construction contracts without bidding, but no progress could be made on that proposal, apparently due to U.S. opposition.
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