Iran and Pakistan to undertake gas pipeline study

Feb 23, 2002 01:00 AM

Iranian Minister for Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, said a decision on the issue of taking gas pipeline from Iran to India either through Pakistan or deep sea would be taken after completion of studies on both the alternatives. Speaking after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with his host counter part, Usman Aminuddin, he said the studies on both these alternatives of the "super project of gas pipeline" would be completed by the end of 2002.
The pre-feasibility study on taking gas pipeline through land route, an option which would result in substantial earnings for Pakistan, would be carried out by an Australian company Broken Hill, he said. The other option of laying the pipeline in deep sea, an apparently capital intensive preposition, would be studied by an Italian company, he added.

Mr Zanganeh termed the signing of MoU for pre-feasibility study of on-shore line an important step in reaching at a final decision of the project, being debated for the past several years. "We would have no objection on a pipeline for supply of hydro-carbons to India through Pakistan," Mr Aminuddin said assuring Pakistan's political support for the project.
The project has three aspects, political, economic and tactical. The first phase of the project, which involved political commitment has been completed, he added. As regard to other proposals of bringing gas and oil from other regional countries from Gulf or Central Asian countries, he said, the thrust of the government was obviously on developing indigenous resources. However he said they had always supported projects of regional pipelines.

Earlier Mr Usman expressed Pakistan's strong desire to work closely with Iran on different projects in the field of oil and gas. "We are ready to move forward quickly," and a Pakistani delegation would shortly visit Iran for further discussion on proposals of exporting motor gasoline to Iran, promoting vehicular use of CNG in Iran and curbing smuggling of petrol from Iran to Pakistan.
Mr Zanganeh when asked about the financing of the project said the total cost would be over $ 4 bn and a consortium of international banks and financial institution would have to be engaged for the provision of funds. He said the talks with the ADB and other international banks should start for lining up the funds.
Talking about smuggling, Mr Aminuddin said it was an issue, which was concerning for both Iran and Pakistan. He said, Iran had been heavily subsidizing its petroleum products and the smuggling was equally hurting them besides causing harm to Pakistan's economy.

Source: The DAWN Group of Newspapers
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