|Pakistan needs Iran gas pipeline: Minister||
Pakistani Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says his country needs the under-construction multi-billion-dollar pipeline projected to carry natural gas from Iran to its eastern neighbor.
“Pakistan needs the project and wants to complete it,” he said in Islamabad on Thursday.
He added that half of the work on the IP (Iran-Pakistan) gas pipeline has already been completed, and the Pakistani government plans to undertake its share in the project as soon as U.S.-engineered sanctions against Iran are eased.
Sartaj Aziz, who advises Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on foreign affairs and national security, said on December 13 that Tehran and Islamabad are in talks over an extension of the December 2014 deadline for the construction of the pipeline as well as financing the project and gas pricing.
According to the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan should start by 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 USD 1 million to Iran until completion.
Iran has agreed not to penalize Pakistan for missing the deadline.
The United States has long been threatening Pakistan with economic sanctions if Islamabad goes ahead with the pipeline project.
However, the government of Pakistani Prime Minister 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 the completion of IP pipeline.
Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.
The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.
(Source: Press TV)
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