Pakistan, Iran reach some agreements on gas pipeline: Minister

Pak IranTEHRANPakistan Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that Islamabad and Tehran have reached some agreements on the gas pipeline project.

Talking to media , Abbasi said that some officials from Iran’s NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company) would visit Islamabad in few days to meet ISGS people to discuss the way to implement the project and talk about the remaining issues.

He further added that the exact date for NIOC-ISGS meeting to be announced soon.

Regarding a recent interview with the Financial Times, he totally rejected some remarks attributed to him that he “Pakistan has convinced Iran to step back from demanding $200m a month from January 01 to compensate for Islamabad’s failure to begin receiving gas from Iran”.

Abbassi reiterated that he had never said such a statement in his recent interview with the Financial Times.

The UK-based newspaper had reported the energy-starved Pakistan has convinced Iran to step back from demanding $200m a month from January 1 to compensate for Islamabad’s failure to begin receiving gas from Iran’s South Pars gasfield, according to the country’s minister for petroleum.

Pakistan has in the past said the Iranian gas is the cheapest option available as its own reserves in the country’s south and southwest dry up. However, officials have complained of continuing US pressure on Islamabad to keep the arrangement with Iran on hold until US-led international sanctions on Tehran are lifted.

The FT had earlier quoted Abbasi as saying, “We have a new understanding with Iran. There will be no penalty applicable from January 1.” Pakistan produces about 4bn cubic feet of gas per day but officials say the country needs at least 8bn cu ft.

The country’s worsening energy supply shortfall has been highlighted in recent days with anxious consumers complaining of gas shortages while the winter chill sets in. The problem has forced Pakistan to halt the sale of compressed natural gas at petrol stations so the gas can instead be diverted for household use.

A Pakistan foreign ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity said the agreement revealed by Abbassi was important to keep relations intact between Islamabad and Tehran. Energy experts said gas from Iran would form a substantial part Pakistan’s energy mix.

Sakib Sherani, a former adviser to the finance ministry in Islamabad, said gas from Iran was “a very significant source of future gas supplies to Pakistan. We can’t give up this project.” Mr. Abbassi said a planned terminal for converting imported liquefied natural gas to gas near the southern port city of Karachi would be “up and running” by March 2015. DNA

About the Author