An Iranian deputy oil minister says Tehran will finance and help build the 700-kilometer tranche of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline on the Pakistani side. “Aside from a 250-million-dollar loan, Iran will also provide the supplies and equipment necessary for the construction of the part of the pipeline on Pakistani soil,” Javad Owji said on Tuesday.
Owji added that Iran will also help Pakistan by providing it with financial aid while the Iranian private sector begins work to construct this pipeline.Iran has already built more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil. The entire project is estimated to cost USD1.2-1.5 billion. “With the agreement of Tehran and Islamabad, within the next few days, operations for the construction of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline will begin on this neighboring country’s soil,” he added. “Iranian and Pakistani companies will set up a joint venture company to build the Pakistani segment of the pipeline,” said Owji. Owji, who is also managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company, stated that Iran will be delivering 21.5 million cubic meters (mcm) per day of natural gas to Pakistan from March 2014 under a seven-billion-dollar deal. On January 21, US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson admitted that his country had been pressuring Pakistan to abandon the project. But Pakistan has constantly dismissed rumors that it might pull out of the project amid renewed efforts by the United States to convince the country to abandon the pipeline. KA/HGH/SS