LAHORE: Pakistan is in the process of working on the ways to revive the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, which will lead to import of natural gas from the neighbouring country, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Monday.
Abbasi told The ×News in an exclusive interview that there are international sanctions on import of natural gas from Iran. He cited as a recent example the fine of about $9 billion imposed on the largest French bank, BNP Paribas, because of its financing transactions with Iran and other countries in violation of the US-imposed sanctions.
However, he added, his government is working to find ways to revive the IP pipeline project.The minister expressed keenness of his government about resolution of the energy crisis in the country at the earliest.
Asked whether the IP project, which is yet to be launched and is bound to miss the deadline of December 2014, is really on track, Abbasi said Pakistan is committed to the IP project. “We need the gas and we want the gas,” he added.
Despite the eagerness expressed by successive Pakistani governments for the project, no government has been able to move ahead on it. Pakistan faces a daily shortage of about two billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The medium-term solution to this problem is import of gas through pipelines or in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Although the outgoing PPP government held ground-breaking ceremony of the IP project in early 2013, no tangible development has taken place related to work on this important project.
The IP gas pipeline project has been conceived to import 750 mmcfd (million metric cubic feet per day) gas from Iran’s South Pars gas field over the Pakistan-Iran border. The project is being implemented on a segmented approach under which each of the two countries is responsible for the construction of the pipeline in its territory.
Iran, which has the world’s second-largest known gas reserve, has already completed most of the work on the pipeline. The exact deadline for the completion of the project is December 31.