Pakistan PM Wants Iran Gas Project Finalized

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that the proposed gas pipeline along Iran, Pakistan, and India, also referred to as the IPI ‘peace pipeline’, is an important component of his country’s energy plans. According to the Internet edition of the Pakistani daily Dawn, Aziz said he is in favor of further negotiations to discuss the gas project and called on the various parties involved to help finalize the project in time to meet Pakistan’s growing energy needs.

“The IPI is a peace pipeline,” Aziz said, adding that it will create a ‘win-win’ situation for all three sides involved and help promote peace in the region.

Aziz confirmed that Pakistan is also considering importing electricity from Iran.

Iran, Pakistan and India are to begin laying the $7 billion gas pipeline by September 2009. Each country would build sections of the gas pipeline along its own territory.

Iran has reportedly already begun laying its 1,100 kilometer section of the pipeline to serve its eastern areas.

A tentative schedule for the development of the entire pipeline has been agreed to and planners expect completion of the project in late 2014.

Meanwhile, the Indian energy minister, Murli Deora, told reporters earlier that two of the country’s private energy giants, Essar and Anil Ambani Group, are in talks to buy liquefied natural gas from Iran, which has the world’s second largest gas reserves after Russia.

India has been under US pressure to withdraw from energy projects with Iran, including the ‘peace pipeline’. Iran and Pakistan however have repeatedly confirmed they will go ahead with the groundbreaking project.

The three countries have reportedly reached an initial consensus on the price of the gas which Iran would export to the two energy-hungry countries via the pipeline.

A lead sponsor for the entire project would be appointed soon after Pakistan and India sign a gas sales and purchase agreement with the National Iranian Gas Company by June 2007.

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