Pakistan Observer

Russian gas giant may fund 780-km pipeline

Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project

Amanullah Khan

Saturday, August 20, 2011 - KarachióThe Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline projects have attracted global investors, technical experts eyeing to participate in this economically lucrative energy project.

In this respect Abu Dhabi state-run company International Petroleum Investment, and China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) have all shown interest in the project to construct an Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, said informed sources.

Russian gas-export monopoly Gazprom may fund and help build the 780-kilometer Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

Pakistan plans to borrow $300 million from local banks to build a pipeline that will carry natural gas from Iran in order to resolve its serious energy crisis while local state-owned companies will provide about $210 million in equity for the $1.3 billion pipeline

Pakistan may approach foreign companies including OAO Gazprom, International Petro-leum Investment Co. and China National Petroleum Corp. for the rest of the financing, it is learnt. Sources were of view that the local funding is crucial for the project because of pressure on Western banks and international agencies to isolate Iran.

Acute fuel shortages persisting for quite a few years have forced the government to ration sup-plies, cutting power for as much as half the day in major cities yet the bill for electricity con-sumption were highly inflated not less than two months consumption.

It may be mentioned that under an accord signed in June 2010, Iran will provide about 21.5 million cubic meters of gas a day to Pakistan for 25 years. The deal can be extended by five years and volumes may rise to 30 million cubic meters a day. Pakistanís gas shortfall is forecast to reach 2.22 billion cubic feet a day in the fiscal year that began July 1, according to government data. The shortage has forced the government to ration supplies to cars that run on compressed natural gas, while the biggest cities have faced blackouts for as long as 12 hours a day. Last year, 53 percent of Pakistanís energy came from natural gas, 30 percent from oil and the rest from coal, nuclear and hydropower, according to data from BP Plc. Paki-stan produced 39.5 billion cubic meters of gas in 2010, or 3.8 billion cubic feet a day.

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is a delayed project lingering on for over a decade but the pressures from West especially the US this badly needed project in the face of ever deteriorat-ing energy situation in Pakistan the US pressures would not allow to accomplish this vital projects unless normalcy returns in US-Iran relationship.

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