Russia sets to complete frozen Pak-Iran gas pipeline project of PPP previous govt

Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: Russia and Pakistan sets to implementing a frozen project inugrated by ex-president Asif Ali Zardari dunging previous PPP govt, to build an underwater gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and India.

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky and Pakistan’s Ministry of Energy Additional Secretary Sher Afgan Khan signed the MoU in Moscow. It is expected that the pipeline will be completed in three to four years starting from March 2019.

This gas pipeline deal between the two countries will serve China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is now in its industrialization phase and is in need of gas for its Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The governments of the two countries were also considering signing an agreement on Russian oil products supplies to Pakistan.

This gas pipeline deal between the two countries will  also serve China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is now in its industrialization phase and is in need of gas for its Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Reportedly, according to signed MoU, Pakistan will receive 500 million to 1 billion cubic feet of gas on a daily basis once the project is completed and Russia’s Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom will work with Pakistan’s state-owned Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) together on the $10 billion project which is aimed at fulfilling Pakistan’s gas needs.

In one of the boldest moves during previous PPP govt under leadership of Asif Ali Zardri, snubbing consistent US pressure and threats, Islamabad and Tehran formally launched the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project with a resounding message for the world: do not define for us, we have our own definitions.

Despite consistent US pressure and threats of sanctions, different countries including Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Afghanistan and Turkmenistan extended diplomatic support to the IP project with their representatives present at the launch ceremony.

The gas pipeline was inaugurated by President Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Pakistan-Iran border in March 2013 during previous PPP govt.

The project was frozen in 2013 due to the imposition of sanctions against Iran, but its revival started in 2017. In November 2017, Russia and Iran signed a memorandum that envisaged Russian support for gas supplies from Iran to India.

“The memorandum provides for the identification of authorized organisations through which the project will be supported, including during the development of a feasibility study, identification of the resource base, configuration and route of the gas pipeline,” the statement said.

Russia and Pakistan were holding consultations on another project of building the 1,100 kilometer North-South Gas Pipeline (NSGP) between Pakistan’s Karachi and Lahore to transport 12.3 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The implementation of an agreement signed in October last year between Russia and Pakistan on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies “can become a promising direction of cooperation.

In addition, Russian electric power industry has shown interest in the Pakistani market.

 

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