Pakistan Seeking New Pipeline Deadline

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A Pakistani delegation is in Tehran to discuss with Iranian officials a new time-frame for the completion of the multi-billion-dollar pipeline projected to carry natural gas from Iran to Pakistan.

Pakistan Seeking New Pipeline Deadline

The team, comprised of officials from Pakistan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources as well as Inter-State Gas Company (ISGC), flew to the Iranian capital on Sunday to hold talks with authorities from the National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC) on Monday, well-informed sources told English-language newspaper The Nation on condition of anonymity.

The Pakistani delegation is expected to ask for a new timeframe for the completion of the IP (Iran-Pakistan) gas pipeline. It would also make all-out efforts to convince Iranian energy officials to accept an extension of the deadline.

Under the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan should start by December 31, 2014, Press TV reported.

The two countries are also responsible for the completion of the pipeline project within their territories, and if Pakistan fails to do so by the end of 2014, it will have to pay a daily penalty of USD 1 million to Iran until the project is completed. Iran has agreed not to penalize Pakistan for missing the deadline.

Iran has already built its 900-kilometer share of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be built.

The United States has long been threatening Pakistan with economic sanctions if Islamabad goes ahead with the pipeline project.

The IP pipeline aims 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.

Iran and energy-hungry Pakistan signed an agreement on the construction of the IP gas pipeline, also known as the Peace pipeline, in 1995. Later, Iran made a proposal to extend the pipeline from Pakistan into India. In February 1999, an accord between Iran and India was signed. But due to the US pressure, India withdrew from the project in 2009.

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