Iran, Pakistan to Ink Gas Sale Accord Next Month

A00237924.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran will sign a final agreement to export gas via pipeline to Pakistan in April, officials said.

Iran, the world’s No 2 holder of oil and gas reserves, has completed half of the pipeline, which will have a capacity to carry 110 million cubic meters of gas a day to Pakistan, senior pipelines expert at National Iranian Gas Company Vahid Zeydifard said.

Iran plans to start exporting gas to Pakistan from 2011, a private TV channel reported. The 7.4 billion-dollar project, known as the “peace pipeline,” will carry gas from Iran to Pakistan and India to meet the growing energy demand of the two countries.

“Negotiations are at a final stage,” Zeydifard said, adding, “Pakistan needs 50 million cubic meters of gas a day, and we can supply the rest to India if they want it.”

India currently uses about 108 million cubic meters of gas a day.

Pakistan is facing a shortage of gas as domestic fields decline and may have to depend on Iranian fuel to meet demand, which is expanding by five percent a year. Iran and Pakistan last October agreed on the pricing formula for transporting natural gas through the proposed pipeline.

The National Iranian Oil Company was developing the Kish field, which would transport gas via a 900-kilometre pipeline from Assaluyeh to Iranshahr once it was completed, said Zeydifard, whose company transports gas in Iran. Pakistan could start receiving the gas when Iran completed a 400-kilometre section from Iranshahr to the Pakistani border, Zeydifard said.

Iran halted gas exports to Turkey in January to meet soaring domestic demand due to extreme winter weather. “We have started exporting gas to Turkey again,” said Zeydifard.

“We had supply problems because of the cold weather and disruption of gas supplies from Turkmenistan,” he said.

Iran sells gas domestically at 20 cents a million British thermal units. The benchmark gas price at Henry Hub, Louisiana, a gas trading point, is 10 dollars a million Btu.

Iran might increase exports of gas this year to Turkey by 30 percent to 10 billion cubic meters, Zeydifard said.

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