Building IP pipeline starts in March despite US threats: Pakistan

Press TV

File photo shows a construction site of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

File photo shows a construction site of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.
Fri Mar 1, 2013 2:28PM GMT

An unnamed Pakistani official confirmed on Friday that an Iranian-Pakistani consortium will start working on the gas pipeline as of March 11, 2013.

The date was announced after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari held several meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran earlier this week.

The pipeline will enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters (mcm) of Iran’s natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis. Iran has already built more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.

Pakistan faces a crushing energy crisis which has caused difficulties in financing the pipeline which stretches from the border between the two countries to Nawabshah region in Pakistan.

Washington has repeatedly voiced its discontent with the joint project, but Pakistan has constantly dismissed rumors that it might pull out of the project amid efforts by the United States to convince the country to abandon the pipeline.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal said in a report that the United States had threatened Pakistan with stringent sanctions if it goes through the project.

“Washington has made it clear that it will impose economic sanctions on Islamabad if it begins to buy gas from Iran. Besides, the UN has mandated sanctions on any trade with the oil-rich country,” the report added.

Iran, the second largest owner of gas reserves in the world after Russia, has said it will provide USD500 million to help Pakistan build the pipeline on its side of the border.

Managing-Director of the National Iranian Gas Company Javad Owji said on February 26 that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is expected to be constructed in 22 months on the Pakistani soil with the participation of Iran.