Saturday, 31 December 2011

Pakistan going ahead with IP pipeline, despite US coercions

Despite US pressure to desist from entering into an energy deal with Iran that would help lessen a mounting gas crisis, it seems Pakistan will be honouring its committment as work surges on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Iran state regulated Press Television reported on Thursday.
Iranian Press TV reported that construction work on the pipeline till Iran’s border has been completed. And that the survey for the remaining feasibility on Pakistan’s land has concluded as well.
Pakistan is bearing losses due to energy crises and it would go ahead with different options including Iran,” The Nation quoted a Pakistani official as saying on Thursday.
The Pakistani source added Islamabad had not backed down from its trade agreement with Iran.
On December 19, high-ranking Islamabad diplomats said the administration of Barack Obama is frustrated with the “rapid progress” of Pakistan’s gas project with Iran, and is exhausting all its resources to sabotage the deal.
“They (US officials) have gone to the extent of threatening Pakistan of economic sanctions if work is not stopped immediately,” the official said.
Earlier last week, Pakistan’s largest bank National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and the country’s largest exploration company Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDC) refused to finance the project. NBP had its branches in different countries of the world and therefore it feared that these branches could be closed due to US sanctions against Iran. Whereas OGDC, already cash constrained due to the huge circular debt, said that its US investors, having a 1.6% share in the company, had threatened to retreat if the company financed the IP gas pipeline project.
The US $7.6 billion gas pipeline deal, which was signed in June 2010, aims to export a daily amount of 21.5 million cubic meters (or 8.7 billion cubic meters per year) of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.
Iran and Pakistan finalised the details of the deal during bilateral talks held in Tehran in October 2007.
In addition to exporting gas to Turkey, Armenia, and Pakistan, Iran is currently negotiating gas exports to Iraq.      

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