A senior Pakistani official said the country’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources is waiting for a green light from the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for resuming stalled negotiations with Iran on laying a major gas pipeline between the two countries.
“The Finance Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Planning have already endorsed the proposal of kicking off negotiations on the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline in order to review the gas price,” the official said as cited by the Express Tribune on Saturday.
This is while reports suggest that Islamabad is looking for an alternative to the IP pipeline which is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.
Pakistan’s Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved the $2-billion Gwadar liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project, which will be executed by China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, a Chinese company, under a government-to-government arrangement.
“We are working with China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau on the Gwadar LNG pipeline and it is willing to connect remaining portion of the pipeline from Gwadar to the Iranian border,” Managing Director of Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) Mobin Saulat said.
The final construction phase of the IP pipeline was inaugurated on March 11, 2013. Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.
Pakistan, however, has fallen short of constructing the 700-kilometer part of the pipeline on its territory.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)